It’s almost as if the people in charge didn’t want fair trials for the defendants, or possibly just didn’t want those men to move out of the ‘could be terrorists’ category:
The military justice system at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which has been dogged by charges of secret monitoring of proceedings and defense communications, became embroiled in a fresh controversy Thursday when it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of defense e-mails were turned over to the prosecution.
The breach prompted Col. Karen Mayberry, the chief military defense counsel, to order all attorneys for Guantanamo detainees to stop using Defense Department computer networks to transmit privileged or confidential information until the security of such communications is assured.
Army Col. James Pohl, the chief judge at Guantanamo, also ordered a two-month delay in pretrial proceedings in the military-commission case against Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is accused of organizing the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. Defense attorneys in the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed , the professed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and four co-defendants filed an emergency motion — via a handwritten note — seeking a similar pause in proceedings…
The inappropriate transfer of the e-mails follows other questions about government intrusion and secrecy that have undermined the legitimacy of a judicial process that has struggled to establish itself as an effective forum for the prosecution of some terrorism cases.
In February, a military lawyer acknowledged that microphones were hidden inside devices that looked like smoke detectors in rooms used for meetings between defense counsel and their clients. The military said the listening system was not used to eavesdrop on confidential meetings and had been installed before defense lawyers started to use the rooms. The government subsequently said it tore out the wiring.
That same month, Pohl learned that the soundproofed courtroom at Guantanamo was wired with a “kill switch” that allowed an unknown government entity, thought to be the CIA, to cut audio feed of the trial to the public gallery. Pohl ruled that in the future only he could turn off the audio feed to protect classified information. But defense lawyers questioned whether the audio equipment in the courtroom had been manipulated to allow the government to monitor attorney-client conversations…
It’s not any one or one hundred deliberately malicious individuals, it’s the ongoing failure of a system cobbled together in a fever of combat urgency and political dishonesty. People do their jobs, as they understand them. Military tribunals enforce military order; the CIA extracts information. These procedures tend to be orthagonal under the best of circumstances, which even Guantanamo’s fiercest defenders would probably agree these are not. I’m having trouble envisioning where the situation will improve when the acting authorities are committed to doing exactly what they’ve been doing, only with more rigor.