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Judges skeptical on bin Laden case

WASHINGTON — Federal appeals court judges seemed skeptical Thursday about forcing the government to release photos and video taken of Osama bin Laden during and after a raid in which US commandos killed the terrorist leader.

Judicial Watch, a conservative group, is seeking the images through the Freedom of Information Act. The CIA found 52 records, but withheld them, citing exemptions for classified materials.

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Judicial Watch lawyer Michael Bekesha told the appeals court panel in arguments Thursday that the government didn’t provide a specific enough basis for denying the request. But Judge Merrick Garland said the government cited specific concerns that the images could be used by the Al Qaeda terrorist network for propaganda and to incite anti-American sentiment.

‘‘Why aren’t those specific?’’ asked Garland.

Bekesha said that the government didn’t provide the justification for each of the 52 records, and how each one of them would cause harm.

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