The US, which has deplored publication of photographs by British and American tabloids showing former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in captivity, defended earlier photos of the despot's capture, saying they were released for "overriding needs of security."
Asked if there was a difference between the current images and photos which US government had broadcast around the world after Saddam's capture in 2003, the White House said the photos that were released on Friday were "of a human being in custody, of a detainee, and they are possibly in clear violation of Geneva Convention guidelines."
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The photos that were released after Saddam's capture in December 2003 from a 'spider hole' in Baghdad were "within our guidelines under the Geneva Conventions," White House press spokesman Trent Duffy said.
"Those (earlier) photos were released for overriding needs of security -- to demonstrate to the Iraqi people and the insurgents that Saddam Hussein was in fact in custody, which we believed was important to help quell the insurgency.
The recent release of photos had no such justification," he said.
The source of Saddam's photos in captivity was "unknown at this time" and the military was investigating the matter, he added.