It shouldn't have been such a difficult issue. After all, defendants on trial for mass murder in a death penalty case often aren't happy with how things are going. That may include being disappointed with their lawyers. But that's in federal court. The military commissions are different.
When Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and Gen. Joseph Dunford Jr., chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, called a military judge's order "outrageous" earlier this week, they probably didn't intend to throw a wrench into the pending 9/11 military commission case.
An Army judge at Guantanamo Bay on Thursday refused to allow one of the five defendants charged with orchestrating the 9/11 attacks to dismiss his lead lawyer, ruling the accused hadn't shown the necessary "good cause" to do so.
The hearing ensued in confusion, as the attorneys and judge argued over what the law is, who's required to explain it to the defendant and how bin Attash can inform the judge why he wants a new lawyer. Underlying the entire discussion was a sense that no one in the room knows all the relevant facts.
The FBI's Secret Investigation of the 9/11 Defense Teams: The Mystery Continues, and Could Compromise the Case
As James Harrington, lawyer for Ramzi bin al Shibh, told the court on Monday: "We now have to represent to our client that we had a spy within our team for a number of months. We don't know what activities that spy did." Will Harrington's client ever trust his defense team again? Should he? And if he can't, can he ever truly receive a fair defense?
A military lawyer representing the mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is resigning from the U.S. Army, which was trying to force him off Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's defense team on the grounds that he needed to attend a graduate course this year.
UPDATE: Lt. Col. Sunset Belinsky, an Army spokesperson, said in a statement later on Monday that this type of situation could
"It wasn't just some rogue FBI agent,"Donald Arias, whose brother Adam was killed in the attack on the World Trade Center
Pohl said Tuesday morning he would issue an order that any current or past members of the defense teams must disclose to
Holder said last year that KSM and his codefendants "would be on death row as we speak" if they were put on trial in federal
KSM addressed a copy of his "Statement to the Crusaders of the Military Commissions in Guantanamo” to an array of officials
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has written a three part statement to the military commission at Guantanamo Bay. Independent journalist Myriam Francois-Cerrah joins HuffPost Live's Zach Carter and Ryan Grim to discuss the terrorist's manifesto.
In the manifesto, KSM -- who asserted at a military commission hearing in 2007 that he had planned the Sept. 11 attacks "from
Eric Holder: 9/11 Defendants 'Would Be On Death Row' If Case Proceeded In Federal Court Instead Of Gitmo
"We unfortunately did not go down that road for reasons other than those connected to the litigation, I think reasons largely
A little government shut-down wasn't going to deter Army Colonel James Pohl. While most federal employees were furloughed, the judge presiding over the 9/11 case at the Guantanamo Bay military commissions on Tuesday insisted the pre-trial hearings continue apace.
Air Force Col. Karen Mayberry, testifying in full uniform, at times looked almost embarrassed responding to questions from defense lawyers that verified the problems they'd been complaining to the military commissions about for months.
The ability of the defendants to meet with their defense counsel is extremely limited. It's not so surprising that, when warned that "failure to meet with and cooperate with your defense counsel may negatively affect the presentation of your case," the accused men might object.
Files have been lost, computer searches monitored and e-mails "disappeared into the ether" at Guantanamo Bay since January, say lawyers for the five co-defendants in the 9/11 case.