Judicial Watch, a public interest watchdog group, has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Defense (DoD) seeking copies of “all photographs and/or video recordings of Osama (Usama) bin Laden taken during and/or after the U.S. military operation in Pakistan on or about May 1, 2011.”
The lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. DOD, Case number 1:11-cv-00890) was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on May 13, 2011, because of the DoD’s response to Judicial Watch’s original FOIA request for copies of those photos and video filed on May 3.
In its response, the DoD said: “At that time, we are unable to make a release determination on your request within the 20-day statutory time period. Although the FOIA contains provisions for an extension of 10 more business days, that additional time will not be sufficient to complete the work required to process your request and arrive at a final release decision.”
In it’s complaint, Judicial Watch says the DoD’s response is an “unlawful withholding of requested records,” and Judicial Watch asks the court to order the DoD “to produce, by a certain date, any and all non-exempt records responsive to” the FOIA request. In addition, Judicial Watch wants the court to order the DoD to stop “from continuing to withhold any and all non-exempt records” that are part of Judicial Watch’s FOIA request.
Judicial Watch filed an identical FOIA request with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on May 4, but the CIA has yet to acknowledge or respond to the request, according to the group.
"The American people have a right to know, by law, basic information about the killing of Osama bin Laden,” said Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch’s president. “Incredibly, the Obama administration told us that it has no plans to comply with the Freedom of Information law, so we must now go to court. President Obama’s not wanting to ‘spike the football’ is not a lawful basis for withholding government documents. This historic lawsuit should remind the Obama administration that it is not above the law," Fitton said.
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