The suit, filed in San Diego Superior Court, said the pictures did not
depict abuse and instead put the lives of the soldiers at risk by
exposing their faces to the world.
"We believe AP's use of the photos and the manner in which they were
obtained were entirely lawful and proper," said Associated Press
attorney Dave Tomlin, who is representing the news agency and reporter
The plaintiffs are identified only as "Six Navy SEALs and Two Jane
Does," and the suit indicates they have been allowed to file
anonymously by court order.
"By failing to conceal the identities of the Navy SEALs, Defendants
Seth Hettena and the AP have jeopardized the lives of Plaintiffs Six
Navy Seals and their families, as well as compromised their future
missions and careers," the suit said.
The U.S. Navy said it had nothing to do with the suit.
"The lawsuit is not a naval special warfare issue but rather a civil
matter undertaken by these individuals against The Associated Press,
which is being handled through the legal process available to all
Americans," said Taylor Clark, a spokesman for the Naval Special
An AP reporter discovered the photos, posted on the picture-sharing
site Smugmug.com, during research on another set of photos that
purportedly showed Navy SEALs abusing detainees.
Confronted with the photos, the Navy said this month it had launched
an investigation. The plaintiffs said in their suit that the photos
depicted regular special operations techniques and did not show abuse.
Jane Doe One, the lawsuit said, stored the photos on Smugmug.com,
among a collection of personal photographs. The suit said the two Jane
Does are wives of two of the SEALs, members of the elite Navy force
The AP reported that the unnamed woman said the photos came from her
husband, who brought them from Iraq after his tour of duty. But the
suit denies that that was the case, or that she told the AP as much.
Distributed around the world, the AP reported the photos showed Navy
SEALs sitting on hooded and bound detainees, holding a gun to a
detainee's bloodied head, and placing a boot on the chest of a prone
Other photos showed grinning U.S. personnel sitting or lying atop
three hooded prisoners in the bed of a pickup truck.
The Dec. 3 AP story quoted a spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare
Command as saying some of the photos could put the lives of the SEALs
The suit, which claims invasion of privacy and intentional infliction
of emotional distress, seeks damages and an injunction barring further
distribution of the photos.
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[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: For up to the minute, five minutes in
length, news reports from Associated Press, look at our web site
http://telecom-digest.org/td-extra/AP.html .I, for one, am glad the
Associated Press has been so involved in the Iraqi Prisoner Abuse
matter. As this entire stench slowly works its way up the chain of
command to the White House itself, its good to see some people care,
even if Dubya does not seem to worry much about how long his
religious war against Islam takes or how much it costs, etc. PAT]