Detainee Abuse Photo Suppression Bill Passes


President Obama has won his fight to ensure that the Defense Department can conceal evidence of its employees’ wrongdoing. On Thursday, the House passed a measure allowing the DoD to withhold essentially any photos of detainee abuse that it doesn’t want the public to see. The move is a huge defeat for the ACLU, which has been fighting a years-long legal battle to obtain such photos under the Freedom of Information Act. But now an amendment  sponsored by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), makes all that moot and slashes a huge hole in FOIA. Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) was a key figure in stopping Lieberman’s photo suppression bill the first time around. In a floor speech Thursday, she explained that this time, the provision was slipped into the Homeland Security spending bill during the conference between House and Senate negotiators—”apparently under direct orders from the Administration.”

I’ve written before about how poorly President Obama’s support for this photo suppression measure reflects on his promise of transparency. It would actually be a mistake to blame the sponsor, Joe Lieberman, for its passage. This would never have happened without the administration’s support. And this latest move does not bode well for the prospects of achieving accountability for torture. If this administration can’t even bring itself to release years-old photos of detainee abuse, how will it ever bring those responsible for torture to justice?

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate