While Freedom of Information Act experts are split on whether a FOIA request will ultimately force the release of Osama bin Laden's death photos, a report by Reuters sheds news light on how news agencies seeking the photos could force the Obama administration's hand. The crucial legal precedent is the 2006 release of detainee abuse photos from Iraq and Afghanistan.
In that case, the White House argued that releasing the images "could reasonably be expected to endanger the life and physical safety of any individual." In non-legalese, the White House argued that releasing the detainee photos could endanger U.S. troops serving abroad. That's similar to the argument President Obama more recently made in his interview with 60 Minutes: "It is important for us to make sure that very graphic photos of somebody who was shot in the head are not floating around as an incitement to additional violence as a propaganda tool," he told Steve Kroft. "And given the graphic nature of these photos it would create some national security risk." If that's an indication of what legal stance the administration will take (and a number of FOIA attorneys believe it is), the government will likely cite exemption 7(F) under FOIA.