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Admiral’s e-mail on photos of Osama bin Laden’s corpse: ‘Destroy them’

Posted by on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014 @ 1:00 pm.

By Dugald McConnell
February 11, 2014
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Redacted document offered as a response to Freedom of Information Act request.

(CNN) -- Within two weeks of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, the head of U.S. special forces issued orders that all photos of the body be either turned in or destroyed, a newly released document shows.

In an e-mail dated May 13, 2011, then-Vice Adm. William McRaven wrote the following: "One particular item that I want to emphasize is photos; particularly UBLs remains. At this point -- all photos should have been turned over to the CIA; if you still have them destroy them immediately or get them to the [redacted.]"

The e-mail was obtained by the conservative activist group Judicial Watch, which has called for the public release of photos of the raid in Pakistan that killed the al Qaeda leader. The e-mail, which was almost entirely redacted, was released under a Freedom of Information Act request.

Days before McRaven's instructions, Judicial Watch had filed a FOIA request for such photos, and hours before, they filed a lawsuit, according to the group's president, Tom Fitton.

"Despite there being multiple requests for this information, and a lawsuit for this information, there was a directive that was sent out, to who knows who, to destroy records," he said. "It may have been in violation of the law," he said.

It is not clear whether any photos of bin Laden's remains were actually destroyed. Through a spokesman, McRaven declined to comment.

Retired Gen. James "Spider" Marks, a CNN military analyst, says if McRaven ordered photos deleted, he may have been trying to protect operational secrets, sources and methods and trying to make sure no commandos kept any photos or video of the covert raid that they were not authorized to keep.

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Posted by on Feb 12 2014. Filed under National News, Pakistan. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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