WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has thrown out an appeals court ruling ordering the disclosure of photographs of detainees being abused by their U.S. captors.Just substitute the names "Obama" and "Gates" with "Bush" and "Rumsfeld" and you'll see just how much has changed.
In doing so Monday, the high court cited a recent change in federal law that allows the pictures to be withheld.
The justices issued a brief, and expected, order Monday directing the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York to take another look at a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union to obtain the photos of detainee abuse. President Barack Obama at first didn't oppose the release, but he changed his mind, saying they could whip up anti-American sentiment overseas and endanger U.S. troops.
The administration appealed the matter to the Supreme Court, but also worked with Congress to give Defense Secretary Robert Gates the power to keep from the public all pictures of foreign detainees being abused.
Gates invoked his new authority in mid-November, saying widespread distribution of the pictures would endanger American soldiers.
In case you weren't paying attention (and who could blame you with all of those shiny photo ops Obama and Michelle have been hiding behind), back in June the US senate passed a law [the Detainee Photographic Records Protection Act] barring the release of those photos.
The bill, sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Independent, and Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, had originally been part of the war funding supplemental bill passed Tuesday by the House.Yes, Obama sided with those progressive beacons of light: Lieberman, Graham and Emanuel using the same fearmongering tactics that the Bush administration was quite fond of. In October, the provision passed when it was included in a homeland security appropriations bill.
But House Democrats stripped that part of the measure from the bill, and the senators proposed it as stand-alone legislation.
Earlier Wednesday, Graham said at a Judiciary Committee hearing that he had received assurance from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel "that the president will not let these photos see the light of day."
The photos have been at the center of a years-long lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union. Congress last month gave the Obama administration specific authority to prevent any release of the 44 photos. Afterward, Gates signed a certificate of authorization, or order, to prevent the photos' release, saying their disclosure would endanger U.S. troops serving abroad.Obama: Fear you can believe in! while hope is fading fast
The order covers all photographs taken of people captured or detained in overseas military operations between September 11, 2001, the day of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, and January 22, 2009, shortly after President Obama took office.