AP Seeks Expedited Osama FOIA Review

Request broadly seeks all information, not just photographic, says Defense Department

The AP is protesting the Obama administration's refusal to expedite the news organization's request for access to photos and other documents from the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

In a written appeal, the AP said that bureaucratic delays "harm the public interest and allow anonymous U.S. officials to selectively leak details of the May 2 mission that resulted in bin Laden's death," according to the AP's report of its own filing.

AP had asked for swift action on its FOIA request for a range of material, including contingency plans and copies of NDA evidence that it was, in fact, bin Laden who was shot and killed. The Defense Department denies its request for expedited review.

"AP...is not focused solely on photographic evidence of bin Laden's death during the raid," said the company in announcing the protest. "The request broadly seeks all information from before the helicopters left the ground to after the government assessed its performance of the raid upon the raiding team's return."

The president said he decided not to release photographic evidence out of concern it could be used by followers as a rallying point or to inflame anti-U.S. sentiment and reprisals.

"While the government has released some information, there is much that remains to be known about the raid, its planning and aftermath," AP senior managing editor for U.S. news, Mike Oreskes, said Wednesday. "That is the reason for our request."