Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit for Release of Pentagon Tapes

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For Immediate Release
Mar 1, 2006 Contact: Press Office
202-646-5188

Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit Against Defense Department for Withholding Video of 9/11 Attack on Pentagon

DOD has “no legal basis” to refuse release of videotape

(Washington, DC) Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it filed a lawsuit on February 22, 2006 against the Department of Defense to force the release of a video that allegedly shows United Flight 77 striking the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. Judicial Watch seeks the information in part to help put to rest conspiracy theories that a government drone or missile hit the Pentagon rather than the hijacked United airplane.

Judicial Watch originally filed a Freedom of Information Act request on December 15, 2004, seeking all records pertaining to camera recordings from the Sheraton National Hotel, the Nexcomm/Citgo gas station, Pentagon security cameras and the Virginia Department of Transportation. The Department of Defense admitted in a January 26, 2005 letter that it possessed a videotape responsive to Judicial Watch’s request. However, the Pentagon advised that the video is exempt from release because it is, “part of an ongoing investigation involving Zacarias Moussaoui.”

Judicial Watch argues in its lawsuit that “there is no legal basis” for the DOD’s refusal to release the videotape. First, while the Freedom of Information Act does allow an exemption for ongoing law enforcement investigations, the Defense Department does not have law enforcement authority over Moussaoui. That belongs to the Department of Justice or the FBI. Second, the investigation of Moussaoui is complete. He pleaded guilty in April 2005 to conspiring with al-Qaida to fly planes into U.S. buildings. Jury selection in Moussaoui’s death penalty trial is nearly finished, and opening arguments are scheduled for March 6.

“There is no legal or rational basis for the Department of Defense to withhold this video,” said JW President Tom Fitton. “There may be nothing of importance on this tape, but our experience has been that whenever the government takes extraordinary measures to keep the lid on documents, it is worth investigating.”

A copy of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit against the Defense Department and the original FOIA request is available for review on Judicial Watch’s Internet site, www.judicialwatch.org.

Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Judicial Watch is dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation’s public life.

(c) Copyright 1997-2004, Judicial Watch, Inc.

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