BAGHDAD: The U.S. military said on Friday it was still processing a request by Reuters for video footage from U.S. helicopters and other materials relating to the killing of two Iraqi staff in Baghdad a year ago.
Reuters photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen, 22, and driver Saeed Chmagh, 40, were killed in a U.S. helicopter air strike in eastern Baghdad on July 12, 2007.
Reuters wants all the materials to be able to study what happened. Access to the video, taken from helicopters involved in the attack, could also help improve Reuters' safety policies in Iraq, the world's most dangerous country for journalists.
Noor-Eldeen and Chmagh had gone to eastern Baghdad after hearing of a military raid on a building around dawn that day, and were with a group of men at the time. It is believed two or three of these men may have been carrying weapons, although witnesses said none were assuming a hostile posture.
The U.S. military said the helicopter attack, in which nine other people were killed, occurred after security forces came under fire.
Video from two U.S. Apache helicopters and photographs taken of the scene were shown to Reuters editors in Baghdad on July 25, 2007 in an off-the-record briefing.
U.S. military officers who presented the materials said Reuters had to make a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to get copies. This request was made the same day.
Reuters News Chief Counsel Thomas Kim wrote to the U.S. Central Command on Thursday, saying the media organisation had not received any formal response in nearly a year.
In an email on Friday, the Central Command said the request was still being processed, adding it could not give a timeframe for when this would be completed.
No humour in this story. Reuters aren't going to let it go and nor should they. I hope the NYT/IHT will continue to give bigger play to this story.
The US military still processing a request from Reuters a year later? No wonder the Iraq war will probably go on many years longer than WWII.