January 29, 2013
A military commission judge’s attempt to explain this morning why the 9/11 pre-trial hearing being held at Guantanamo Bay was briefly blacked out from observers yesterday has only caused more confusion.
Beginning the hearing of the five alleged September 11 co-conspirators this morning, Judge James Pohl said a “security officer” is in charge of cutting off the feed when he believes something classified is being discussed. The judge didn’t say who or where this security officer is or on what basis he makes his decision that the matter is classified. He didn’t even clarify whether there is just one security officer in the courtroom, or others receiving the real-time audio feed elsewhere with the ability to press the censor button.
In the situation yesterday, Judge Pohl explained, whoever it was should not have cut off the feed because Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s attorney, David Nevin, was merely talking about his motion to obtain evidence of secret CIA detention facilities, commonly known as “black sites,” which has been filed in court and posted on the public docket. Obviously a reference to it can’t now be considered classified.