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US Gives Up Fight To Get Secret Document Back From ACLU December 20, 2006

Posted by notapundit in US News.

NEW YORK (AP)–After demanding that the American Civil Liberties Union turn over a classified document it had been given and prove it had destroyed every copy of it, the government agreed Monday that the document about photographs of detainees could be made public.

“We were in a standoff, and the government blinked,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said of the Dec. 20, 2005, four-page document whose subject was: “The Permissibility of Photographing Enemy Prisoners of War and Detainees.”

U.S. District Judge Jed S. Rakoff said that going forward all court filings in the matter will be “presumptively public” unless he orders otherwise.

The document in question – marked “secret” in bold but small print on the top of its first page – described when and how the military Public Affairs Office permits the media to photograph enemy prisoners of war and detainees in Iraq.

In a conclusion on its last page, the document said the news media and the Public Affairs Office are permitted to photograph prisoners and detainees as long as the photography cannot be interpreted as holding the subjects of the photographs “up to public curiosity.”

It said U.S. soldiers were prohibited from photographing prisoners and detainees unless it was required as part of a photographer’s official duties.

The document was dated more than a year after the release of pictures of U.S. soldiers tormenting Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

In a letter to the judge, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer G. Rodgers said the government sent the ACLU a subpoena on Nov. 20 asking for the document because the ACLU had asked for one “in lieu of voluntary cooperation with the government concerning the return of what was, at that time, a classified document.”

She wrote: “Consistent with this cooperative approach, we hereby withdraw the subpoena in light of changed circumstances.”


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