Administration gets more time for abuse photos appeal

The government will have an additional 30 days to prepare for a fight over releasing the pictures

By Alex Koppelman

Published June 1, 2009 8:15PM (EDT)

Thanks to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the administration will have an additional 30 days to prepare its appeal in the suit over detainee abuse photos that President Obama wants to keep secret.

The photos, which have been the subject of a court battle between the government and the ACLU for years, are at issue now because of Obama's flip-flop on the question of whether they should be released. He initially decided to drop appeals and make the pictures public, but was persuaded to continue the fight against a court order mandating the release of the photos.

Last week, more controversy about the images erupted when the Daily Telegraph reported that the withheld photos depicted rape and other sexual abuse of detainees. The White House pushed back sharply against that report, and on Friday Salon's Mark Benjamin confirmed that the Telegraph's source, retired Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, has not actually seen the photos in question and was taken out of context. Another description of the images, this one provided by the Daily Beast's Scott Horton, was also inaccurate, as he erroneously described pictures published by Salon in 2006 as among those being withheld -- in fact, the government officially released those photos shortly after their publication.

According to SCOTUSblog, the appeal would have been due June 9, but the administration will now have until July 9 to complete it.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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