Lawyers for the Defense Department are refusing* to cooperate with a federal judge's order to release secret photographs and videotapes related to the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.
The lawyers said in a letter sent to the federal court in Manhattan late Thursday that they would file a sealed brief explaining their reasons for not turning over the material, which they were to have released by Friday. […]
The government has turned over more than 60,000 pages of documents on the treatment of detainees, some containing graphic descriptions of mistreatment. But the material that the judge ordered released—the ACLU says there are 87 photographs and four videos—would be the first images released in the suit. The judge said they would be the "best evidence" in the debate about the treatment of Abu Ghraib prisoners.
In the letter sent Thursday, Sean Lane, an assistant U.S. attorney, said that the government was withholding the photographs because they "could result in harm to individuals" and that it would outline the reasons in a sealed brief to the court.
* UPDATE: The New York Times has issued a correction; read about it here.