Trials & Litigation

Court interpreter at Gitmo trial for accused 9/11 slayers worked at CIA 'black site,' defendants say

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The first hearing since August in a military case against five men accused of playing a role in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks came to a sudden halt Monday.

At least two of the defendants said they recognized the courtroom interpreter at at the U.S. Navy base tribunal at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as the same man who had worked for the Central Intelligence Agency when they were held at a so-called “black site” outside the U.S., the Associated Press and the Miami Herald report.

“I cannot trust him because he was working at the black site with the CIA, and we know him from there,” defendant Ramzi Binalshibh, 42, told the court in English.

Officials are now looking into the issue of the interpreter’s background.

Defense attorney Cheryl Bormann of Chicago represents Walid bin Attash. She said he was “visibly shaken” to see an individual who “participated in his illegal torture” in the courtroom today, the AP article reports.

“If this is part of the pattern of infiltration by government agencies into the defense teams, then the right people to be addressing this issue are not in the courtroom,” Bormann said.

The defendants face multiple charges including nearly 3,000 counts of murder.

Related coverage: “Accused Sept. 11 Plotters to Be Arraigned; Lawyer Doesn’t Expect Guilty Pleas”

See also: “Report: Secret order by military judge requires CIA to reveal ‘black site’ info in USS Cole case”

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