Federal Judge: Release Those Guantanamo Videos!

A federal judge has ordered the Defense Department to turn over to the court three video recordings showing Guantanamo prisoners being forced out of their cells.

U.S. District Court Judge John Bates’s unusual order came Wednesday in

Guantanamo jog

Guantanamo jog (Photo credit: The U.S. Army)

a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by families of Kuwaiti prisoners being held at the U.S. military-run prison for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay. Bates said the Pentagon, which is represented in the case by the Justice Department, had failed to offer detailed enough explanations to sustain the government’s position that the videos are exempt from disclosure under the law.

Bates suggested he’d lost patience with the government in the case, noting that he’d given the Defense Department three chances to explain its position but that officials repeatedly offered “inconsistent and confusing” explanations.

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FOI At Work: Documents Show Administration Coddling Filmmakers

Film director Kathryn Bigelow after a showing ...

Film director Kathryn Bigelow after a showing of her film The Hurt Locker, 2009 Seattle International Film Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This has all the makings of a TV movie

In the months after the U.S. military mission that killed Osama bin LadenPentagon officials met with Hollywood filmmakers and gave them special access in an effort to influence the creation of a film about the operation, newly released documents show.

Emails and meeting transcripts obtained from the Pentagon and CIA through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the watchdog group Judicial Watch suggest that officials went out of their way to assist the filmmakers, while trying to avoid the public learning of their cooperation.

Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal, who won Oscars for their 2009 Iraq war movie, “The Hurt Locker,” were granted access to a Navy SEAL who was involved in planning the May 2011 raid, according to a transcript of a meeting that took place in July.

“The only thing we ask is that you not reveal his name in any way as a consultant because … he shouldn’t be talking out of school,” Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael Vickers told the filmmakers. Vickers later added: “This at least gives him one step removed and he knows what he can and can’t say, but this way at least he can be as open as he can with you and it ought to meet your needs.”

The name of the “planner, SEAL Team 6 Operator and Commander,” was redacted from the documents that were provided to Judicial Watch. A Pentagon spokesman told Politico that the identity of “a planner, not a member of SEAL Team 6,” was provided “as a possible point of contact for additional information if the DoD determined that additional support was merited.”

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Think Finding bin Laden was tough? Try finding the records!

A really interesting piece

English: Osama bin Laden interviewed for Daily...

Image via Wikipedia

from the AP on the hunt for bin Laden…and the hunt for bin Laden records…

The hunt for Osama bin Laden took nearly a decade. It could take even longer to uncover U.S. government emails, planning reports, photographs and more that would shed light on how an elite team of Navy SEALs killed the world’s most wanted terrorist.

Ten months after that electrifying covert mission, an administrationthat has pledged to be the most transparent in American history is refusing to release documents about it under the Freedom of Information Act. The records could provide insights into how bin Laden died, how the U.S. verified his identity and how it decided to bury him at sea, as well as photographs taken during and after the May 2011 raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Government officials have openly discussed details of the mission in speeches, interviews and television appearances, but the administration won’t disclose records that would confirm their narrative of that fateful night. The Obama administration has not said even where in Washington’s bureaucracy all the documents might be stored.

And then this little gem:

Citing the law, The Associated Press asked for files about the raid in more than 20 separate requests, mostly submitted the day after bin Laden’s death. The Pentagon told the AP this month it could not locate any photographs or video taken during the raid or showing bin Laden’s body. It also said it could not find any images of bin Laden’s body on the Navy aircraft carrier where the al-Qaida leader’s body was taken.

The Pentagon said it could not find any death certificate, autopsy report or results of DNA identification tests for bin Laden, or any pre-raid materials discussing how the government planned to dispose of bin Laden’s body if he were killed. It said it searched files at the Pentagon, U.S. Special Operations Command in Tampa, Fla., and the Navy command in San Diego that controls the USS Carl Vinson, the aircraft carrier used in the mission.

The Defense Department told the AP in late February it could not find any emails about the bin Laden mission or his “Geronimo” code name that were sent or received in the year before the raid by William McRaven, the three-star admiral at the Joint Special Operations Command who organized and oversaw the mission. It also could not find any emails from other senior officers who would have been involved in the mission’s planning. It found only three such emails written by or sent to then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and these consisted of 12 pages sent to Gates summarizing news reports after the raid.

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