Arriving at Ft. Meade, June 16, 2014
I arrived at Ft. Meade a little before 8:00 am on Monday morning to make sure I didn’t miss any of the hearings. After my last experience of missing everything due to a schedule change, I didn’t want to take any chances. Fortunately, there was a very short line to get into the base and I was waived in after telling the guards what I was coming
onto the base for. They seemed surprised that the Military Commission hearings were being broadcast on the base.
The next step was to figure out where on the base the theatre was. After stumbling around driving for a while I first found Smallwood Hall which is where the media is set up to observe. The benefit for them is that they are aloud to have electronic devices and internet unlike our site at the theatre. Fortunately, I found the theatre shortly after that and met Clarence who also drove in from Indiana.
As my colleagues posts discuss, the hearings for the 5 9-11 defendants all centered around a series of FBI “interviews” conducted in 2013 of various defense team members. The FBI interviewed an interpreter and an investigator from the defense team and made them sign non-disclosure agreements. The defense team learned about the interviews and have been trying to find out the extent of the FBI investigation since learning about it. This hearing was focused on the potential conflict issues associated with the FBI interviews of the defense team. It amazes me that the FBI would interfere with the defense team unless they had some indication of illegal activity by the defense team which it does not seem like they did (although that is the real issue, no one seems to know what they were investigating and why and they don’t want to disclose any information about it).
The bottom line is the Defense team said that because of this “intervention” by the FBI, their clients no longer trust that what they tell their defense team is confidential and it has negatively impacted the strategy and investigation of the defense team due to their concern that the FBI is monitoring them. After all 5 defense attorneys and the prosecution addressed the issue of conflicts, the judge adjourned the hearings for the day and took the issue under advisement. Due to the speed of getting through the hearings in one day, the judge then adjourned the Commission until Wed. when Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi will be arraigned.