Constitutional Law

Report: Secret order by military judge requires CIA to reveal 'black site' info in USS Cole case

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A secret order filed under seal by a military judge in the USS Cole bombing case orders the Central Intelligence Agency to reveal to the defense so-called “black site” details about the overseas detention and interrogation of the defendant over a period of several years.

Relying on information from unidentified sources, the Miami Herald (sub. req.) reports that the five-page order by Army Col. James L. Pohl requires the CIA to provide to defense counsel for Abd al Rahim al Nashiri, 49, details about where and when he was held and the names of those involved in his detention and interrogation. The Monday order was filed under seal Thursday on a website for the war court, which is located on a U.S. military base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The order does not, however, require the CIA to provide copies of the legal memos that authorized the overseas detention and interrogation program.

Nonetheless, the CIA is expected to fight the order. One unidentified individual who has seen the order but is not part of the USS Cole case describes it as “a nuclear bomb that may shut down the case” and predicted that the government will file an interlocutory appeal, the newspaper reports.

A Pentagon spokesman told the newspaper “the Department will respond to the judge in due course,” but declined to comment publicly on the order.

Nashiri, who could face the death penalty, if convicted, is accused of orchestrating a 2000 suicide bomb attack on the USS Cole off of Yemen in which 17 sailors were killed and many more wounded. He was captured in 2002 in Dubai and arrived in Guantánamo four years later.

Previous posts discuss the overseas detention program and Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel memos that approved it.

Related coverage: “CIA Detainees Declared Combatants” “Is CIA listening to talk between lawyers and clients in Guantanamo death-penalty case?” “Does classified report show that CIA sent DOJ inaccurate info on harsh interrogations?”

The Guardian: “Guantánamo hearings halted amid accusations of FBI spying on legal team”

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