Did the Pentagon Violate the Freedom of Information Act by Withholding Bin Laden's DNA Results?

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 29 2013 8:50 PM

Did the Pentagon Violate the Freedom of Information Act by Withholding Bin Laden's DNA Results?

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Supporters of a hard line pro-Taliban party carry portraits of the slain Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on the first anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden.

Photo by BANARAS KHAN/AFP/GettyImages

The leaked secret budget documents reported on today in the Washington Post revealed that an American military lab in Afghanistan confirmed Osama bin Laden’s identity using DNA analysis shortly after he was killed. The AP notes that previously the Pentagon denied “it had any records of these tests in a response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Associated Press.”

The AP says, the day after bin Laden was killed, it submitted FOIA requests for verification tests performed on bin Laden, as well as videos, photographs, and other documents related to the mission. In March 2012, the AP reports it was informed by the Defense Department that it could not locate any of the requested files.

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Here's more from the clearly unhappy Associated Press:

The AP reported in July that the nation's top special operations commander, Adm. William McRaven, had ordered military files about the raid purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they more easily could be shielded from ever being made public.

The secret move appeared to have sidestepped federal rules and perhaps the Freedom of Information Act as well. The CIA has special authority to prevent the release of "operational files" in ways that can't effectively be challenged in federal court.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.