Judge Pohl, Chief Presiding Officer for the Guantanamo Military Commissions, ruled yesterday that pretrial hearings will move forward for the five Guantanamo prisoners charged in the September 11th attacks. In doing so, he denied a request by the detainees’ lawyers to pause the case until the Pentagon resolves concerns about the security of their computer system.
During three days of testimony in August, the lawyers raised their concerns about the confidentiality of their sensitive materials pertaining to their cases, and explained to Judge Pohl that the problems were grave enough to cause them to stop using the government computer network for their cases. They have experienced a myriad of problems with the Pentagon’s computer network, including data vanishing, confidential emails being improperly sent to the prosecution, and privileged emails being subjected to monitoring, understandably raising concerns as to whether these glitches would interfere with the ability to represent their clients effectively.
Once the Pentagon agreed to address the lawyers’ complaints regarding the alleged security breaches, Judge Pohl deemed it appropriate to move forward with the pretrial hearings. A trial date has not yet been set for the five detainees, but pretrial hearings are expected to be completed within the next few months.
Kelly Ann Taddonio, Senior Research Fellow
Center for Policy & Research