NPR Joins Fox News’ Shep Smith, Others Demanding Release of Bin Laden Death Photos

Public broadcaster latest media organization to file Freedom of Information Act request

NPR is the latest media company to file a Freedom of Information Act request demanding the U.S. government release photos of Osama Bin Laden’s death photo and others obtained during the raid of his compound.

The public broadcaster announced on Tuesday that it will join the Associated Press, Politico, Fox News and other media and watchdog groups that have either filed a request or are drafting one, according to the National Journal.

NPR said it was working on its FOIA request; the AP and Politico have already filed theirs; last week, Shep Smith requested on-air that Fox News' lawyers draft one, though it is unclear if they have.

The FOIA requests give the government 20 days to respond.

Dick Meyer, NPR’s executive editor for news, said, “pictures of Osama Bin Laden and other images from that mission would have compelling news value and public interest.”

But Meyer said the filing does not necessarily mean NPR will publish them. “I can foresee circumstances or arguments that would lead us to refrain from publishing the images if we were to get them, but NPR should be in a position to make that decision and not simply accept the government's action."

NPR and other news organizations anticipate the issue will be decided in court.
Dan Metcalfe, the former Justice Department head of information and privacy, has said he thinks the photos eventually will be released, given the legal history of such cases. (The government’s attempt to keep photos of Abu Ghraib from the press was ultimately rejected, Metcalfe noted.)

Meanwhile, members of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees “will be permitted see photos of Osama bin Laden's corpse, lawmakers were informed Tuesday.”

According to The Ticket, “select members who choose to see the pictures will reportedly be taken to CIA headquarters for viewings.”