You might get to see those grisly photos of Osama Bin Laden's dead mug after all.
Associated Press has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to see photographs and video taken by U.S. personnel during the May Day raid on Bin Laden's Pakistani compound.
The act allows citizens to obtain public documents. However, the military and the Obama administration could argue they are “intelligence” and covered by protection of state secrets. We'll see. In any case, AP says …
… even if it gets its hands on the photos, it doesn't mean they'll share them with you.
The photos, of course, would appear to include ones of Bin Laden's corpse after he was shot by at least one U.S. Navy Seal.
AP director of media relations Paul Colford told News Photographer magazine this:
… We would decide about publishing all or some on the images based on our own editorial standards, which include such factors as tastefulness and whether they could cause harm or danger to others.
Conservative groups Judicial Watch and Citizens United have also asked to see the pics, according to KPCC (89.3 FM).
The government has 20 days to respond to the requests. If it fails to so or denies them, the matter could end up in court.
Let's assume it will — and that it'll be a long time before we find out if we can see Osama the corpse.
Is it our right? We think it is: It would be hard for the government to argue that this is a state secret that is of essential importance to security matters such as troop movement or intel, etc.
Now, while the images might enrage Muslim extremists, that shouldn't be the concern: The government cannot preemtively censor based on projections of or conjecture about what the reaction might be.
We don't necessarily want to see Osama's dead ass. But it could put some rumors to rest of journalists were allowed to take a gander. And, bottom line, photos of him are public documents — by the people, for the people.
What do you think?