FT. MEADE, Md. -- The military judge in the Sept. 11 conspiracy case on Monday abruptly granted a defense request to stop all of the proceedings until Tuesday morning after lawyers for the five accused plotters raised fresh complaints that they were being spied on by government intelligence officials listening in on what should be confidential attorney-client conferences.
The defense lawyers said government intelligence officials, known only to them as the “Original Classification Authority,” have eavesdropped through the microphones at defense counsel tables in the courtroom, through a second “secret” audio feed installed in the courtroom and with microphones hidden in smoke alarms in outside holding cells used for conferences between the defendants and their lawyers.
“The fact someone else is listening, some other government agency is listening, an intel operation of some kind, and that these microphones are capable of picking up everything we say led us to believe the confidentiality of our discussions are at issue here,” said David Nevin, an attorney for alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
Cheryl Bormann, an attorney for Walid bin Attash, an alleged Al Qaeda training camp steward, said there was “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” that the government has been spying on the defense strategy, making a mockery of the military commission process that already has been roundly criticized by defense lawyers and many civil rights organizations.