Gitmo Lawyer: Pentagon Mishandled Defense Emails

Lost a Large Cache of Documents to Server Failure

Guantanamo Bay defense lawyers have a lot to complain about, not the least of which being that even when their clients are exonerated they are rarely ever actually released.

Today though, the focus is on a lawyer for one of the accused in the USS Cole attack, who says the planned tribunal needs to be cancelled because the Pentagon mishandled defense documents and then lost a good chunk of them, leaving them unable to defend the client.

The problem centers around two distinct problems with a cache of information. Richard Kammen, the lawyer in question, says that there is strong evidence that the Pentagon was monitoring the outgoing emails of lawyers as well as their Internet searches, culling information about how the defense might proceed.

Perhaps the even bigger problem, however, is that the server holding a lot of those documents up and failed one day, and the Pentagon says that a lot of the “potentially classified” documents are simply lost forever. The Pentagon has responded by telling people to just plain stop using computers.

The judge is to hear pre-trial motions in the case starting Monday, but it isn’t clear when the call to indefinitely delay the tribunal will be heard. It also isn’t clear, with so much important data lost, how it can possibly continue on.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.