By Morgan Watkins | May 19th, 2011
AP seeks bin Laden photos
Despite President Obama’s decision not to release post-mortem photos of Osama bin Laden, The Associated Press won’t give up the fight.
The Obama administration refused AP’s call for an expedited review of its FOIA request, so AP is appealing to the Department of Defense.
But AP isn’t just after the photos. It also wants other information about the bin Laden operation, including copies of the DNA tests proving that the man killed was bin Laden, contingency plans, and other video and photographs of the mission.
Police Escort Records
While it may be having trouble obtaining the bin Laden documents, another AP FOIA request revealed records from the Washington, D.C. police that show it’s not just top federal officials who receive law enforcement escorts.
Charlie Sheen, Bill Gates and singer Taylor Swift are among those who have received escorts that are supposed to be reserved for foreign dignitaries and major government officials.
The issue of celebrity escorts was thrown into the spotlight after Charlie Sheen publicized his April 19 escort by tweeting about the service. In one tweet posted with a photo via his yfrog webpage, Sheen wrote: ”in car with Police escort in front and rear! driving like someone’s about to deliver a baby! Cop car lights #Spinning!”
While the services are paid for – police escorts run a rate of $55.71 per hour – they could go against protocol when used for professional athletes or other celebrities.
Police escorts are also allowed if there is concern for public safety or crowd control, which may make some celebrity escorts OK, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said in an interview with AP. Past services for entertainers or other celebrities will be evaluated based on the Charlie Sheen case.
Justice Kagan and Health Care Law
The AP isn’t the only organization making headlines with its FOIA requests.
A FOIA lawsuit filed in February by Judicial Watch and the Media Research Center may revive concerns about whether Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan should be involved in future cases involving the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed in 2010.
Documents provided due to the lawsuit show Kagan helped develop a legal defense for the law as solicitor general before she was appointed to the Supreme Court, according to an article from The Daily Caller.
– Morgan Watkins
Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (email@example.com) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).