June 11th, 2009
09:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Detainee photo provision dropped from war-funding bill

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Senate and House negotiators tasked with finalizing a compromise on a $105 billion bill to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan rejected a provision Thursday night that would have prohibited the release of detainee abuse photos.

The provision was dropped after President Barack Obama raised objections in a letter addressed to the chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.

"I'm writing to urge you to oppose the McConnell Amendment," the president wrote, referring to Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's attempt to block the photos from being made public.

In the letter, Obama restated his own opposition to releasing the photos and his belief that "that the most direct consequence of releasing them would be to further inflame anti-American opinion and to put our troops in greater danger." But the president bowed to the political reality: if the legislation included the ban, it would not have enough votes to be approved in the House, where liberal Democrats have demanded that all information be released regarding the detention of enemy combatants.

"I deeply appreciate all you have done to help with the effort to secure funding for the troops, and assure you that I will continue to take every legal and administrative remedy available to me to ensure the DoD detainee photographs are not released. Should a legislative solution prove necessary, I am committed to working with the Congress to enact legislation that achieves the objectives we share," added Obama.

The federal courts are currently examining whether the government should be required to release the photos, with the issue expected to ultimately be decided by the Supreme Court. In the meantime, the photos are not being released.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-Louisiana, previously voted to block the release of the photos but said she voted otherwise on Thursday to make sure the war funding bill would ultimately be approved and that the military would receive its needed funding.

"It was a poison pill," Landrieu said. "We need to get our troops the funding they need and the only way to do that was to block [this measure]… And I'm fully confident that President Obama will do whatever he can to make sure those photos aren't released. Those photos will not be released."

Filed under: President Obama
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