The U.S. Supreme Court has overturned the ruling of a lower court that allowed the disclosure of photographs of detainees allegedly being abused by their U.S. investigators. The decision was criticized by civil rights groups but praised by lawmakers in Washington.
Representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which brought the lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, have said the organization will continue to fight for releasing the photos which it says show the U.S. engaged in acts of torture and other illegal activities to obtain information.
Steven R. Shapiro, the ACLU’s legal director, commented that "no democracy has ever been made stronger by suppressing evidence of its own misconduct."
However, in announcing its decision, the highest court referred to the recent enactment of the Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2010. The Act contains a provision allowing the Secretary of Defense to issue a certification preventing the release of any photograph whose disclosure may endanger U.S. citizens, members of the United States Armed Forces or employees of the U.S. government deployed abroad.
The decision was applauded by Senators Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, and Joe Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut, who called it an "important step to protect the safety of Americans who place themselves in harm’s way to defend our security and liberty."