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Abu Ghraib Rape and Abuse Photos Were Not the Ones Obama Wants to Suppress After All

Turns out the story from the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph that the photos the Obama administration is refusing to release, despite a court order to do so, are not the same ones that Maj. Gen. Antonia Taguba said depict brutal rapes of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

At least, so says Mark Benjamin at Salon and now White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Here’s the e-mail from Gibbs:

A number of you have asked about or reported on a recent article in the Telegraph that inaccurately described photos which are the subject of an ongoing lawsuit. Both the Department of Defense and the White House have said the article was wrong, and now the individual who was purported to be the source of the article has said it’s inaccurate. Given that this false report has been repeated around the world, and given the impact these negative reports have on our troops, I felt it was important for you to see this correction.

Turns out the 44 photos that are the subject of the ACLU’s lawsuit against the government, which President Obama first said he would release and then, after conferring with the CIA and Defense Department, said he wouldn’t, are not the same photos that Taguba actually saw and described in his 2004 report.

Of course, now that we don’t have descriptions of the particular photos doesn’t really change the question of whether the White House should release them. As I’ve argued before, I think a federal judge — not the president unilaterally — ought to decide whether the information of criminal wrongdoing they allegedly reveal outweighs the potential danger to U.S. troops.

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