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Pentagon Criticizes Publication of Pictures of US Soldiers' Coffins
VOA News
23 Apr 2004
The U.S. Defense Department has criticized the publication of pictures of flag-draped coffins containing the bodies of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.

Pentagon officials said release of the pictures to an activist who posted them on the Internet was a mistake, and it said no more pictures will be released.

One of the DOD photos at issue

One of the DOD photos at issue

Hundreds of pictures showing the coffins were posted on the Internet site www.thememoryhole.org by an anti-secrecy activist, Russ Kick, who received the Department of Defense photographs under a federal law, the Freedom of Information Act. Many U.S. newspapers published some of the pictures in their Friday editions.

Most of the pictures were taken at Dover Air Force Base in the eastern U.S. state of Delaware, where many of America's war dead first arrive in the United States.

Earlier this week, an American government contract worker in Kuwait was fired after a photo she took of flag-draped coffins being readied for transport home appeared in a U.S. newspaper, The Seattle Times, on Sunday.

Since 1991, the U.S. Defense Department has prohibited news media from covering the arrival of the remains of U.S. troops. It says the policy is meant to protect the privacy of soldiers' families and the dignity of the dead.

Critics say the regulation lessens the impact of war on the American public.