Matt Lewis

Shep Smith wants FOIA for bin Laden photo?

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor

Mediaite reports that Fox News’ Shep Smith “wondered aloud whether they’d be able to make a Freedom of Information Act request to acquire the Bin Laden death photo. After mulling it over for a few seconds, he made up his mind and asked the Fox News lawyers to get started on it right there on the air.”

It may not be absurd.  Here’s an excerpt from an August, 2005 press release:

A coalition of 14 media organizations and public interest groups organized by The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in U.S. District Court in New York urging the release of Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse photos.

The coalition, which includes CBS Broadcasting Inc., NBC Universal Inc., and The New York Times Co. , supports a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit the American Civil Liberties Union has had pending the Defense Department since October 2003.

The government argues that the information is protected by Exemption 7(F) of the FOI Act, which protects law enforcement records from disclosure when they “could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual.” Citing recent riots in Afghanistan following Newsweek‘s publication of an article about alleged Koran abuse at Guantanamo Bay, later retracted, the government says the official release of Abu Ghraib prison abuse photos could similarly incite violence against military personnel and civilians overseas.