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American Legion opposes ACLU campaign to release detainee photos

Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Commander Clarence Hill

American Legion National Commander Clarence Hill says the ACLU is “unconscionable” in continuing its campaign to force release of photographs allegedly showing abuse to suspected terrorists.

At the National Press Club in Washington this week, ACLU Legal Director Steven R. Shapiro said his organization “shares deep concern” for troop safety in Afghanistan and Iraq but, nevertheless, will continue to fight for the release of the detainee photos – a legal course that could endanger troops.

“Military leaders and President Obama himself have conceded that the release of the controversial detainee photographs could be used as propaganda and recruitment tools for terrorists, and result in severe retaliation against our troops. So it’s hard not to doubt the ACLU’s alleged concern for our warriors,” Hill said.

The ACLU says the public has a “right to know” about what it considers government misconduct, and that suppression of the photos – which may number as many as 2,000, says the group – could seriously endanger the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and result in future cover-ups of governmental abuse.

“No one wants a government to go unchecked, but the detainee abuses have been very well documented and very well publicized already,” Hill said. “In response, the ACLU argues that ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ That may be, but is the spotlighting in a sensational way of this past misconduct worth the risk? We don’t think so.”

The ACLU’s briefing was a preview of cases and issues to be considered by the U.S. Supreme Court in its upcoming legal season.


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