No Details Coming|on Bin Laden’s Funeral

     WASHINGTON (CN) – The Navy properly redacted portions of an email chain describing the funeral of Osama bin Laden, a federal judge ruled.
     Judicial Watch sued the Navy under the Freedom of Information Act, seeking records and communications related to any funeral ceremony held for the dead al-Qaida leader.
     The Navy found 10 email chains totaling 31 pages, but redacted certain information before releasing the documents, U.S. District Judge Richard Leon wrote.
     “Because the redactions were proper and necessary to prevent disclosure of sensitive operational details and to protect our national security, defendant’s motion for summary judgment must be granted and plaintiff’s cross-motion for summary judgment must be denied,” the seven-page ruling states.
     Since the May 2, 2011, raid, Judicial Watch has filed several FOIA lawsuits seeking details of the strike against bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, the terrorist leader’s death and his burial at sea.
     Last year, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled that the CIA did not have to give up photos and videos depicting bin Laden’s body or his burial to Judicial Watch, which made its request just one day after President Barak Obama announced the success of the Seal Team Six operation.
     “A picture is worth a thousand words. And perhaps moving pictures bear an even higher value,” Judge Boasberg wrote then. “Yet, in this case, verbal descriptions of the death and burial of Osama bin Laden will have to suffice, for this court will not order the release of anything more.”
     Judge Leon echoed Boasberg’s concern about releasing such information, stating: “In the past, al-Qai’da has attempted to recruit and incite violence by claiming that Osama bin Laden, its former leader and founder, did not receive an appropriate Islamic burial. Reasonably analogous disclosures, including an erroneous report by Newsweek that American soldiers had desecrated the Koran, have led to widespread violence and anti-American protests in the Middle East. In sum, Lieutenant General Scaparrotti’s assertion that disclosure of the redacted information poses a potential threat to national security easily crosses the logical and plausible threshold recently affirmed by Circuit.”
     Bin Laden was killed by a team of Navy Seals in the early morning of May 2, 2011, local time. Senior Pentagon and intelligence officials said the terrorist leader’s body was washed and placed in a white sheet, then put into a weighted bag and dumped into the sea.
     Though media reported and the White House confirmed that pictures of bin Laden’s body had been taken, the government decided not to release them.
     “The president himself later explained this decision, emphasizing the national security risk involved and stating that the photos might serve ‘[a]s a propaganda tool or an incitement to additional violence,” Judge Boasberg wrote last year.

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