As the ACLU suit to acquire photographs of alleged abuse of terrorist detainees by U.S. personnel overseas continues — and Republican efforts to bar release were thwarted by Democrats in the war supplemental bill conference — there are reports that some of the 44 photographs in question were not taken at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo or Bagram.
As one source who claimed to have seen the photos told HUMAN EVENTS Editor Jed Babbin, the photos were apparently not interrogation photos but pictures taken on the battlefield in entirely different circumstances.
Having heard a U.S. senator say he had heard the same thing during a meeting I was at yesterday, I brought up the rumor surrounding the ACLU-sought photographs at the White House briefing later in the day (June 17). The President’s top spokesman would not say for certain whether all of the photographs were taken within a detention center or some in a combat situation.
“I don’t know the location of each and every one of the photographs,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said, “I’m not even sure if it’s just one area or one country.” He went on to repeat “the President’s views on this in ensuring for national security reasons that those photographs aren’t released” and that Mr. Obama “intends to make good on that.”
Citing that I had heard a senator mention this earlier, I asked Gibbs: “Would you at least rule out that any were taken on the battlefield?”
“Let me check,” the President’s top spokesman replied. “Let me be honest, I don’t know if I can provide that information, but I can certainly check.”
White House on Carter Contact
On another issue, there has been increasing press attention on Jimmy Carter’s recent swing through the Middle East and his meetings with Hamas leaders as well as key Israeli leaders. Has President Obama or the National Security Council, I asked Gibbs, been in touch with Carter on these meetings either before or after they occurred?
“I can check,” the President’s press secretary said.
At that point, National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said that “[t]he meetings were prior, not necessarily directly before.”
Then Gibbs added, “Yes, I don’t think we’ve had meetings related to that.” He added that “former President Carter may have spoken with people here in and around the speech in Cairo, but I don’t know.”