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Four Gitmo Reporters Banned from Hearings for Using Interrogator’s Name

Posted May 7, 2010 8:01 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Four journalists covering Guantanamo court hearings this week have been booted from future sessions of the military commissions for violating a secrecy order and publishing the name of “Interrogator No. 1.”

The reporters who got the boot are Miami Herald reporter Carol Rosenberg, Toronto Star reporter Michelle Shephard, The Globe and Mail reporter Paul Koring, and CanWest news service reporter Steven Edwards, according to stories by the Associated Press and Reuters.

The Army interrogator’s name was widely publicized in past stories when he pleaded guilty to abusing prisoners at the Bagram air base in Afghanistan, Reuters reports. He also allowed his name to be used in media interviews after his plea. Reuters did not publish the interrogator’s name in its Guantanamo coverage, nor did a handful of the other dozen or so news organizations covering the hearing.

Journalists covering the hearings at Guantanamo Bay must sign agreements not to disclose information that the court determines to be a secret.

The interrogator testified Thursday at a hearing considering whether confessions made by Omar Khadr, captured at the age of 15, should be allowed at his trial that begins in July.

American Civil Liberties Union deputy legal director Jameel Jaffer is urging the Defense Department to reconsider. “That reporters are being punished for disclosing information that has been publicly available for years is nothing short of absurd—any gag order that covers this kind of information is not just overbroad but nonsensical,” he said in a press release.

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