Terrorism Trials: Military Commissions

9/11 Case Motions Hearing: April 17 Session

By Wells Bennett
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 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 of KSM's nutty manifesto to the press, inappropriately interrogated a defense security officer ("DSO") assigned to the Binalshibh defense team.  (The latter apparently signed a kind of non-disclosure agreement, which the FBI presented him and which purported to shield some information from---among others---lawyers participating in Binalshibh's defense.)  Upon learning of this, the defense filed emergency papers with the commission, asking for an inquiry into the matter (and the possibility of a conflict) and seeking to abate the proceedings.  For his part, the military judge didn't pause the commission entirely.  But he ordered any defense team members who have been so approached by the FBI to notify defense counsel, and---apparently having in mind some further investigation---asked the defense to prepare any necessary requests to produce FBI agents who interviewed the DSO.  More recently, commission prosecutors---who are naturally walled off from any FBI security inquiry---have sought the appointment of a special trial counsel to handle the matter.  That person (who might or might not be at Guantanamo) has, in turn, asked the commission not take action until the filing of any needed response---on April 21.

Which is to say: there might be action in court today; there might not be.  But whatever happens, the format remains the same as always.  Dispatches throughout the day, in our "Events Coverage" section, with links to the dispatches below.

4/17 Session #1: A Special Trial Counsel, and a Pause