#Guantanamo videos showing a detainee being forcibly extracted from his cell can remain secret, under a new ruling.
In a 14-page decision dated Dec. 4, U.S. District Judge John Bates accepted Defense Department arguments that release of the Gitmo videos could harm national security. International Counsel Bureau and the law firm Pillsbury, Winthrop, Shaw, Pittman had requested the videos under the Freedom of Information Act, as part of a larger effort.
The cell-extraction videos involved a detainee named Fawzi Khaled Abdullah Fahad Al Odah, while a separate video showed a detainee named Khalid Abdullah Misha'al Al–Mutairi getting a haircut while restrained, according to Bates.
The Defense Department, Bates noted, argued that "public release of the videos would allow detainees to communicate through means other than the accepted channels," and allow them to "convey direct or coded messages."
The Defense Department further asserted that "even a ten second image of a detainee waiting to be forcibly removed from his cell would show the public that a detainee was resisting the rules of the detention facility, which would allow al-Qaeda and its affiliates to create propaganda out of such images," Bates recounted.
Judge Bates bought the Pentagon's argument, reasoning that "the Department has provided sufficient explanations as to how these solo images, if released, 'reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the national security' and are therefore properly withheld" under FOIA exemptions.