Judge in 9/11 Case Orders End to Outside Government Censors
Source: NY Times
FORT MEADE, Md. — The military judge overseeing the prosecution of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other detainees accused of aiding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks ordered the government on Thursday to disconnect the technology that allows offstage censors — apparently including the Central Intelligence Agency — to block a public feed of the courtroom proceedings at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba
The order by the judge, Col. James L. Pohl of the Army, followed an interruption on Monday of a feed from the military tribunal courtroom during a pretrial motion hearing in the Sept. 11 case. The interruption brought to light that unidentified security officials outside the courtroom could censor a feed of the proceedings that the public and the media are allowed to view on a 40-second delay.
“This is the last time,” Colonel Pohl said, that any party other than a security officer inside the courtroom who works for the commission “will be permitted to unilaterally decide that the broadcast will be suspended.”
He added that while some legal rules and precedents governing the military commissions were unclear, there was no doubt that only he, as the judge, had the authority to close the courtroom. While officials may disagree about whether classified information had been improperly disclosed, he made clear he would not tolerate any outside party having control over a censorship button in his case.