Cameras too candid for Rummy?


Geraldine Sealey
May 24, 2004 6:10PM (UTC)

It's nearly impossible to buy a cell phone these days without a little camera embedded in it -- but a London newspaper is reporting that Donald Rumsfeld has banned the gadgets at U.S. military installations in Iraq in an attempt to get control of the images emerging from the war zone.

The paper quotes a "Pentagon source," and said DoD thinks some of the damning photos of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad were taken with camera phones.

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On Sunday, though, Knight-Ridder ran a story from Baghdad saying there was no official Pentagon policy on troops' war photos, which are difficult to control given the proliferation of personal cameras carried by soldiers. But troops are reminded that giving away classified info, even in a "Hi Mom" type snapshot, is a crime.

Knight-Ridder reported: "No official rules have been released during the invasion of Iraq governing the use of cameras or restricting what soldiers can photograph. No one reviews the photos before they are transmitted across the Internet. And no one anticipates any rules soon, beyond the admonition that mishandling classified information -- even by accident in an otherwise innocent photo -- is a crime, said a senior military officer, speaking on the condition of anonymity. 'You can't make all the cell phones go away. You can't make all the digital cameras go away. The genie's out of the bottle,' the officer said."


Geraldine Sealey

Geraldine Sealey is senior news editor at Salon.com.

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