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AP Loses Bid to Obtain ‘American Taliban’ Files

(CN) - A federal appeals court in New York blocked The Associated Press from viewing documents filed by John Walker Lindh, the so-called "American Taliban," explaining his reasons for seeking a reduction in his 20-year sentence.

After serving in the Taliban Army and attending a lecture by Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks, the California native was captured and pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban and other crimes.

The 2nd Circuit affirmed dismissal of the AP's Freedom of Information Act claim.

"AP has failed to demonstrate that disclosure of Lindh's petition would serve a cognizable public purpose such that it may not be withheld under the privacy exemptions," the court ruled.

Lindh's commutation petition contains personal information such as his Social Security number, and details about his conviction and any post-conviction relief action. The court ruled that the AP failed to show how the release of such personal information would "shed light on the workings of government," adding that there are no allegations of government misconduct in the case.

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