New revelations at Guantánamo show the walls have ears, and justice is being made a mockery
The incident prompted defense attorneys to ask: What else was being monitored that they didn't know about? And did that include attorney-client communications? Pohl thought the question important enough that he moved investigation of it by attorneys to the top of the hearing agenda, postponing all other pending issues.
The confidentiality of attorney-client communications is a fundamental element of U.S. justice. And people running the Guant�namo Bay facility had made repeated promises it was being protected. According to the Miami Herald, on March 6, 2012, the then-prison camp commander, Navy Rear Adm. David Woods, wrote to Southern Command, the military region that includes Guant�namo, that at the place where lawyers meet the accused "no microphones are installed to ensure privacy between the attorney and client is maintained."
Thus, it was extremely disturbing to learn, when the hearings continued last week, that listening devices disguised as smoke detectors had been installed in attorney-client meeting rooms.
Defense attorneys and their clients had long suspected they were being monitored. "My client raised the issue that we were being listened to," said Cheryl Bormann, defense attorney for Walid bin Attash, a Yemeni who is accused of trying to obtain a U.S. visa to receive pilot training and take part in the 9/11 attacks. "And I said to him, 'Of course not,' just like I say to every client I ever represented." But she wanted more assurance. One day, while meeting with her client, she pointed to a smoke detector in the room and asked the guard: "Mr. Guard, is that a listening device? And he said, 'Of course not.'"