Supreme Court Throws Out Order to Release Abuse Photos

High Court Cites Change in Law Permitting Obama to Keep Photos Secret

In a move that was highly expected, the Supreme Court issued a brief today throwing out a previous ruling by the US court of appeals which ordered the release of detainee abuse photos.

The Supreme Court cited a recent change in federal law that allowed the executive branch to unilaterally declare that making the photos public would “endanger American soldiers,” which they did earlier this month, effectively keeping the photos a secret indefinitely.

The ACLU, which had initially sought the release of the photos, has vowed to continue the fight to see them eventually released. At this point, however, that appears unlikely.

President Obama initially claimed that the photos didn’t contain anything particularly sensational but demanded the court overturn the ruling after Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki predicted that the photos would delay the US pullout from the nation.

Documents filed with the Supreme Court say one of the photos showed a soldier “acting” as if he was anally raping a detainee with a broom handle. The motion claimed that even though the federal government failed to prove to the appellate court that any individual was in physical danger, they could still keep the photos secret on the basis of non-specific concerns.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of