Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Richard Myers filed a motion in a US federal court in response to a request by human rights groups to make public 87 photographs and four videotapes made at Abu Ghraib by Specialist Joseph Darby.
Mr Darby triggered the Abu Ghraib scandal last year when he turned over to military investigators photographs and videos implicating military policemen in abuse of prisoners.
The pictures showed inmates piled up naked, cowering in front of military dogs and forced to stand naked in front of female guards.
At least eight low-ranking US soldiers have been convicted in the wake of the scandal that sparked international outrage at the US.
A Pentagon probe has cleared all top US commanders of any criminal responsibility.
But so far, only a fraction of pictures from Specialist Darby have been released to the public.
A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other human rights groups with the US District Court in Manhattan seeks to make the remaining pictures available.
But in an affidavit Myers insists the release “would aid the recruitment effort and other activities of insurgent elements.”
He states that the pictures would “endanger the lives and physical safety of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines” in US Army serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, if they became public.
The suit comes at a particularly sensitive time for the Bush administration following a spike in US casualties in that country.
As many as 61 percent of Americans expressed their disapproval of how the president is handling Iraq in the most recent Newsweek magazine survey.
General Myers said the release of new photos could also have an effect similar to that caused by the since-retracted Newsweek story about the desecration of the Koran at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The story about the Islamic holy book being flushed down the toilet, which was published in April, sparked riots in Afghanistan that, according to Myers, claimed at least 17 lives.