Justice Department’s Torture Photo Deadline Looms

Judge Demanded Official Justification for Keeping Photos Secret

The 540-page summary of CIA torture practices may just be the first in a growing collection of releases detailing US misdeeds over the past decade, as a deadline imposed by a federal judge on keeping some 2,100 photos secret fast approaches.

The Bush and Obama Administrations kept the photos secret for many years, and the judge gave the Justice Department until this evening, December 12, to offer individual rationales for why each of these photos were to be secret.

Judge Hellerstein complained the administrations declarations that the photos put national security in danger were overbroad, and wanted specific details on each. The judge is expected to rule individually and start ordering photos released in late January.

The photos include additional abuse photos from Abu Ghraib, from other sites in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the world. The last declaration related to their release came from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who in 2012 claimed every single one of them a vital national security secret. It was this ruling that sparked the ACLU lawsuit and eventually the judge’s involvement.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of Antiwar.com.