Military judge halts 9/11 case to explore eavesdropping issue, orders top Gitmo officials to testify

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A military judge has halted hearings in a 9/11 terrorism case to address an emergency defense motion concerning possible U.S. government eavesdropping on attorney-client conversations.

Three top officials in charge of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are expected to testify Tuesday about the issue after being ordered to do so by the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, according to the Los Angeles Times (reg. req.) and the Miami Herald.

On Monday, Pohl abruptly suspended other proceedings in the case of five individuals accused of orchestrating the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Defense lawyers contend they have what one called “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” that U.S. officials are eavesdropping electronically on their conversations in court and prison conference rooms.

“I’ve been practicing law for 25 years, and never have I been put in a position to ask whether I’ve been listened to,” attorney Cheryl Bormann said. She represents defendant Walid bin Attash.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “A Gitmo mystery: Who cut the video feed for reporters?”

ABAJournal.com: “Is CIA listening to talk between lawyers and clients in Guantanamo death-penalty case?”

ABAJournal.com: “Defense lawyers say they think US may be eavesdropping on client talks in Gitmo terror cases”

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