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Senate passes bill to withhold torture photos

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  1. Freedom of Information
The U.S. Senate passed a bill Wednesday night allowing the president to withhold the controversial photos of detainees being tortured…

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Wednesday night allowing the president to withhold the controversial photos of detainees being tortured while in American custody in Iraq and Afghanistan

The bill, which the Senate had previously attached to the supplemental appropriations bill for the war, now goes to the House. The House had removed the amendment from the war funding bill after Democrats objected to it. 

The Senate bill, agreed to by unanimous consent, included the Open FOIA Act, supported  by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D.-Vt.). Leahy said in a statement that the Open FOIA portion of the bill will "make certain that when Congress provides for a statutory exemption to FOIA in new legislation, Congress states its intention to do so explicitly and clearly."

CNN reported that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who sponsored the torture photos bill, told the Senate that if Congress didn’t pass the measure President Obama would sign an executive order blocking the photos’ release.

The ACLU won a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals in New York ordering the release of the photos under the Freedom of Information Act in 2008. The Reporters Committee has filed friend-of-the-court briefs in support of the ACLU.