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Abuse Photos Part of Agreement on Military Spending

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NY Times
Friday, June 12, 2009

Congressional negotiators reached tentative agreement on Thursday on a $105.9 billion spending measure that would provide money for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through September but would drop a ban on the release of photographs showing abuse of foreign prisoners held by United States forces.

The deal was concluded after Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, went to the Capitol to assure Senate Democrats that President Obama would use all administrative and legal means to prevent the photos’ release. At the same time, a federal court issued a ruling effectively ensuring that the photos would not be released for months, if ever.

Mr. Obama followed up with a letter, promising to work with Congress if legislation was necessary to keep the photos from being publicized but urging lawmakers not to let the dispute interfere with freeing up the money for the armed forces.


“Given the singular importance of providing funding for our troops, it is essential that Congress pass the supplemental appropriations bill,” Mr. Obama wrote in the letter, which was read publicly at the negotiating session by Senator Daniel K. Inouye, Democrat of Hawaii and the Appropriations Committee chairman.

The photo restriction, approved by the Senate, was viewed by some Democratic House members as an end run around federal freedom of information laws. It was dropped to appease Democrats already uneasy about approving nearly $80 billion for combat and more money for aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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This article was posted: Friday, June 12, 2009 at 9:31 am

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