The Central Intelligence Agency recently found additional photos of Osama Bin Laden's corpse, the Department of Justice acknowledged in a Friday letter.
Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request by Judicial Watch's Michael Bekesha, Justice Department attorney Marcia Berman said that the CIA had located seven additional photos of the Al Qaeda leader's body. Previously, the DOJ had told courts and FOIA requesters that just 52 pictures of Bin Laden existed, all of which remain classified.
"These additional images were not located during the CIA's search for responsive records in this case," Berman wrote in a letter filed in federal district court. "However, these images of Bin Laden's corpse are of the same nature as the materials the CIA previously identified and discussed in the declaration of the Director of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, John Bennett, and would have been withheld in full for the same reasons discussed in Mr. Bennett's declaration. In fact, Mr. Bennett has personally reviewed these seven additional images and confirmed that they continue to be properly classified for the reasons set forth in his declaration."
Click here to read the full letter.
Judical Watch, a conservative watchdog group, has sued the CIA for access to more records concerning Bin Laden's death, including the photographs taken after the May 2011 raid.
The suit was considered by a federal appeals court last month. The Huffington Post's Ryan J. Reilly reported:
Judges on a federal appeals court here gave little indication on Thursday they would second-guess the Obama administration's assertion that the release of 52 images of a postmortem Osama bin Laden would be harmful to national security.
Judge Merrick Garland, one of three judges on the appeals court panel, said in court on Thursday that Judicial Watch was right to focus on the "least dangerous of the photos," the ones showing bin Laden's body being prepared for burial and dumped into the ocean. But he suggested that it was within the executive branch's rights to claims the images would have a negative impact on national security if it could provide specific examples supporting that contention.
"Why should we not defer to them?" he asked.