The State Department has released several new photographs depicting the aftermath of the attacks on the U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012. The release was given to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which is suing the State Department for public materials that were not provided after Judicial Watch filed Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.
Among the materials the State Department had been withholding form public disclosure are several news articles, including one published by CBS News. It's unclear as to why the State Department previously withheld the photographs and the public news articles.
The State Department has failed to provide the newly-released public materials to CBS News pursuant to our FOI requests even though the agency has previously agreed that it's required to do so. Once a document is made public for any reason, including as the result of a lawsuit, it must be made available to all relevant FOI requesters. You can view the materials on the Judicial Watch website.
A year ago, CBS News filed multiple FOI requests with federal agencies seeking public information regarding the Benghazi attacks.
In November of 2012, the State Department granted our request for expedited processing, as a news outlet seeking information of public important to possibly report in a story. However, the expedited processing has not yielded results. Neither have any of the other FOI requests. In many instances, the agencies have claimed blanket exemptions for all documents under various exemptions including national security.