Now available on the military commissions docket: this motion, filed earlier this week by a coalition of media organizations as “press intervenors.” In the just-unsealed filing, the group–which includesthe New York Times, the Miami Herald, Fox News,and others— seeks an opportunity to be heard before Commission proceedings are conducted in secret.
The impetus for the motion is a string of sealed filings by the government, and a number of secret rulings by the commission itself. From the motion’s statement of facts:
Press Intervenors previously moved to intervene in this action for the limited purpose of protecting the public’s constitutional, common law and statutory rights of access. See AE 065 (Apr. 5, 2012); AE 093B (July 12, 2012). These public access rights are affirmative, enforceable rights that include the right to notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard before proceedings of this Commission are conducted behind closed doors or records are sealed from public view.
A number of pleadings have recently been docketed with near-total redactions or entirely under seal, but which reveal that the Government has made ex parte, in camera submissions seeking unspecified relief. See Government’s consolidated notice regarding ex parte, in camera filing and motion for finding, AE 092 (filed Aug. 10, 2012) (redacted); Government’s Consolidated Ex Parte Notice, AE 091 (filed Aug. 10, 2012) (redacted); Government’s Ex Parte, In Camera Supplemental Filing To Its Motion And Memorandum for a Protective Order, AE 022E (filed Aug. 31, 2012) (redacted); Government’s Notice of Ex Parte, In Camera Supplemental Filing to its Motion and Memorandum for a Protective Order, AE 022B (filed June 6, 2012) (redacted); Government Notice to the Defense of the Government’s Ex Parte, In Camera Motion for a Second Protective Order, AE 079 (filed June 7, 2012) (redacted); Government Notice to the Defense of the Government’ Ex Parte, In Camera Motion for a Third Protective Order, AE 080 (filed June 7, 2012) (redacted); Government’s Notice to the Defense of the Government’s Ex Parte, In Camera Motion for a Fourth Protective Order, AE 094 (filed June 28, 2012) (redacted). The defense responses to the Government’s recent motion for finding, AE092A, AE 092B (filed September 13, 2012), are also currently withheld from any public scrutiny as they are undergoing security review. And several orders of this Commission are sealed. See Order (AE 094A, Aug. 9, 2012); Order (AE 080A, Aug. 8, 2012); Order (AE079A, Aug. 24, 2012); Order (AE022C, Aug. 8, 2012); Order (AE022D, Aug. 24, 2012). Under the circumstances, nothing in the public record indicates the specific relief sought in the Government’s motions or the grounds for seeking it.