Secrecy: FOIA

CA2 Affirms SDNY Denial of FOIA Suit for Al-Qahtani Photos

By Wells Bennett
Tuesday, September 2, 2014, 11:41 AM

That seems to be the sum and substance of the Second Circuit's ruling today.  The 3-judge panel's decision opens:

Appellant Center for Constitutional Rights seeks disclosure by the government, pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), of certain videos and photographs of a high profile Guantanamo Bay detainee, Mohammed al‐Qahtani, who is believed to be the so‐called “20th hijacker” in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

We agree with the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Naomi Reice Buchwald, Judge) that the government has met its burden of establishing that these images are exempt from disclosure pursuant to FOIA Exemption 1, which authorizes non‐disclosure of records that are properly authorized by Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of “national defense or foreign policy.” 5 U.S.C. § 552(b)(1). The declarations submitted by the government establish with adequate specificity that government release of images depicting al‐Qahtani—one of the most high‐profile Guantanamo Bay detainees, whose treatment at Guantanamo has been widely publicized—could logically and plausibly harm national security because these images are uniquely susceptible to use by anti‐American extremists as propaganda to incite violence against United States interests domestically and
abroad.

Accordingly, we AFFIRM the September 12, 2013 judgment of the District Court.