Comments: Later That Same Night


Photographs of members of the armed forces and Department of Defense employees taken for official purposes usually may be disclosed when requested under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552, and the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. 552a(b)(2), unless the photograph depicts matters that, if disclosed to public view, would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. 5 U.S.C. 552(b)(6). Generally, award ceremony photographs, selection file photographs, chain of command photographs and similar photographs may be disclosed. Taking such photographs is not collection of information under 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(3), so a Privacy Act advisory statement is not required.

I suspect they view the ceremony as falling under the unwarranted invasion section, especially if the servicemembers fear members of the media may seek them out off duty to ask questions about their work. Also, it's very somber and emotionally difficult duty and I think some servicemembers do not desire intrusions, even if well meaning, into their off-duty lives. Blackening out the faces is probably a good compromise between full disclosure and no disclosure of the photgraphs and avoids legal hassle over the applicability of "unwarranted."

Posted by Col Steve at April 28, 2005 11:42 PM

Col. Steve, I should just start e-mailing you and asking you these questions, before I post. :) Thanks for the information, that explains the decision.

Posted by Anne at April 29, 2005 09:26 PM