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Posts by Wells Bennett

Wells C. Bennett is managing editor of Lawfare and a Fellow in National Security Law at the Brookings Institution. His position is supported with a grant from the Markle Foundation. Before coming to Brookings, he was an Associate at Arnold & Porter LLP. Full bio »

4/22 Session #6: Reprisal

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 4:05 PM

In AE222, the defense seeks to compel discovery into a possible reprisal defense to the terrorism charges against Al-Nashiri. By reprisal, Maj. Tom Hurley has in mind, in essence, a legal doctrine that permits certain individuals to take otherwise illegal actions in the context of armed conflict, under narrow and extraordinary circumstances. Thus he seeks . . .
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4/22 Session #5: Lots of Reasons Not to Impose the Death Penalty

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 4:02 PM

The afternoon pushes on, to AE209—the first in a series of motions seeking to take death off the table as a punishment option. In AE209, the Defense seeks to have the death penalty tossed out, because the Convening Authority, in referring the case, did not refer to aggravating factors set forth at RMC 1004. Under . . .
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4/22 Session #4: Chain of Custody Now, Chain of Custody Later

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 2:41 PM

In AE207, the government has asked for a pre-trial hearing regarding on various evidence. CDR Andrea Lockhart has in mind 167 pieces of physical evidence seized from or near the U.S.S. Cole, immediately after the attack on the boat.  It seems defense attorneys plan to object to the chain of custody for all 167; accordingly, . . .
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4/22 Session #3: Confrontation

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 2:33 PM

The Guantanamo lunch hour closes; the military commission resumes, court and counsel first turning their collective attention to some procedural odds and ends.  One item raised by Al-Nashiri’s Learned Counsel, Rick Kammen: Nancy Hollander’s status on the defense team, and the need for an evidentiary hearing (and thus, resolution of her position vis a vis . . .
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4/22 Motions Session #2: More on Hollander

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 12:15 PM

When recess ends, Kammen says he spoke with Al-Nashiri during the break.  For some reason—apparently there’s an unwritten rule about where the accused may stand—guards had then became agitated, because Al-Nashiri had moved around a bit.  The problem was quickly resolved, the lawyer says; but Kammen merely speaks now to flag the issue. We thus . . .
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4/22 Motions Session #1: In Which Recusal is Revisited

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 10:37 AM

It’s Al-Nashiri time, y’all.  The military judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, calls the hearing to order.  The accused is here, along with his lawyers, save two: Capt. Daphne Jackson and Nancy Hollander (whose own role in the case is itself the subject of litigation).  Judge Pohl advises Al-Nashiri of his right to be present, . . .
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Al Nashiri Motions Hearing: April 22 Session

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Your correspondent returns to Fort Meade, where Lawfare will take in a closed circuit broadcast, from Guantanamo, of pre-trial litigation in United States v. Al-Nashiri.   Throughout the day, we’ll have updates on the proceedings in our “Events Coverage” section, with links to the updates below. A programming note: today will be the only one to feature “almost . . .
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Chief Prosecutor Statement on This Week’s Hearing in Al-Nashiri

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Monday, April 21, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Here it is.  The remarks, by Chief Prosecutor Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, open thusly: Good evening. Abd Al Rahim Hussayn Muhammad Al Nashiri stands charged with serious violations of the law of war for his alleged role in attacking the United States warship USS Cole (DDG 67) and the French vessel MV Limburg and in attempting to . . .
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Statements by Prosecution and Defense on This Week’s 9/11 Case Hearing

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Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 10:57 AM

The Chief Prosecutor issued this earlier this morning. Hello to all of you. Due to the Judge’s decision to take up the joint defense motion requesting he inquire into possible defense conflicts of interest (AE 292), I have no update on the procedural posture of the case. As filings become available, they will be posted on the . . .
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4/17 Session #1: A Special Trial Counsel, and a Pause

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Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 10:14 AM

We’re back in session.  The military judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, calls proceedings to order.  Of the five 9/11 accused, there are two absentees: Walid Bin Attash and Mustafa Al-Hawsawi.  That prompts a voluntariness discussion, which proceeds according to the expected script. First on our substantive agenda, and all of that agenda, really: the . . .
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9/11 Case Motions Hearing: April 17 Session

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Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 9:01 AM

There’s a small band of us here at Fort Meade’s Smallwood Hall—the venue where we’ll take in, via slightly-delayed, Closed Circuit Television, more of a pre-trial motions session in the 9/11 military commission case. It’s been an odd little week at Guantanamo.  To recap, the defense has claimed that the FBI, while investigating the leak . . .
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4/15 Motions Session #3: What Sorts of Evidence, Part Two (And a Recess)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 11:26 AM

Break being over, Cheryl Bormann picks up her thread: the conflict between absurdly strict secrecy controls and her own obligations to her client. Bin Attash is angry these days, she says, because he must (among other things) needlessly wait for counsel to return pieces that Bin Attash himself has written to him, pending security scrubs. . . .
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4/15 Motions Session #2: What Sorts of Evidence, Part One

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM

Our recess concludes; the action resumes. KSM lawyer David Nevin begins the defense’s remarks on possible evidence it might offer to support of AE292—a motion alleging inappropriate FBI contacts with a defense security officer (“DSO”) assigned to Ramzi Binalshibh’s team, and seeking an abatement of procedings.  (By way of reminder, the FBI inquiry apparently arose . . .
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9/11 Defense Counsel on the FBI’s Contacts with Defense Team Members

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 9:29 AM

Defense lawyers for 9/11 accused Ammar al-Baluchi had this to say yesterday, about an emergency defense filing in the 9/11 case concerning alleged FBI contacts with a member of another accused’s defense team: GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA Today, defense attorneys in the 9/11 military commission revealed that the FBI had interrogated a Defense Security Officer, and . . .
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4/15 Motions Session #1: Housekeeping, and FBI Things

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 9:24 AM

It’s Tuesday, 9:12 a.m., when our Fort Meade screen comes to life: down at Guantanamo, the military judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, calls proceedings to order. Who’s here? Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh only, of the five accused.  This means a voluntariness colloquy. As per usual, the government calls a pseudonymous witness, a . . .
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9/11 Case Motions Hearing: April 15 Session

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Tax day is upon us; so is day two in a four-day, pre-trial motions hearing in United States v. Mohammed et al.  (You can find coverage of yesterday’s quite brief open session here.) As always, Lawfare will file mini-updates on the hearing throughout the day, in our “Events Coverage” section—and link to those updates here. 4/15 Session #1: . . .
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4/14 Motions Hearing #1: Ex Parte Hearings, FBI Investigations, and a Recess

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Monday, April 14, 2014 at 10:03 AM

It’s game time, y’all. The military judge, Army Col. James Pohl, ascends the bench and resumes pretrial proceedings in the 9/11 case.  All five accused are present, along with their lawyers and a few other folks. We begin with the advice of rights regarding presence at a pre-trial session—and the possible consequences that might follow . . .
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9/11 Case Motions Hearing: April 14 Session

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Monday, April 14, 2014 at 8:43 AM

Today marks the beginning of a four-day hearing in the 9/11 case, a.k.a. United States v. Mohammed et al.   Lawfare will cover the session, with almost-live updates from a Closed Circuit TV viewing facility located at Maryland’s Fort Meade. Throughout the day, we’ll publish each post over at our Events Coverage page, and link to them below.  We expect the . . .
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Statement of the Chief Prosecutor on This Week’s Hearing in the 9/11 Case

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Sunday, April 13, 2014 at 9:19 PM

You’ll find it here. And that’s as good a reminder as any that, tomorrow, Lawfare will resume coverage of pretrial motions hearings in United States v. Mohammed et. al.  This week’s four-day session will feature (among other things) litigation over the competence of accused 9/11 co-conspirator Ramzi Binalshibh to take part in the proceedings. In his written remarks, . . .
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Lawfare Podcast, Episode #69: A Conversation with Former NSA Deputy Director Chris Inglis

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Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 2:00 PM

“The National Security Agency at the Crossroads” was a two-day conference organized by Lawfare’s Bobby Chesney, and held earlier this week at the University of Texas’ Strauss Center for International Security and Law.  At the conference, recently retired NSA Deputy Director John “Chris” Inglis gave an address; Ben Wittes caught up with Inglis afterwards, for . . .
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