In an opinion yesterday, Judge Buchwald denied a FOIA request seeking disclosure of photos and videos from interrogations of Mohammed al-Qahtani, who is believed to have been the intended 20th hijacker on September 11, 2001. Judge Buchwald agreed with the government that disclosure posed national security risks:
[W]e find it both logical and plausible that extremists would utilize images of al-Qahtani (whether in native or manipulated formats) to incite anti-American sentiment, to raise funds, and/or to recruit other loyalists, as has occurred in the past . . . . Such misuse is particularly plausible in this case, which involves a high profile detainee, the treatment of whom the Convening Authority for Military Commissions Susan J. Crawford determined “met the legal definition of torture.” First Lustberg Decl. Ex. 1, at 1. Moreover, we find it entirely plausible that disclosure of the Withheld Videotapes and Photographs could compromise the Government’s cooperative relationships with other Guantánamo detainees.