Federal court cancels inquiry into suspected Gitmo eavesdropping

Federal court cancels inquiry into suspected Gitmo eavesdropping
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A federal court has called off an inquiry into listening devices found during meetings between detainees and attorneys at the Guantánamo Bay prison.

The Miami Herald reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Monday abandoned a review of suspected violations of attorney-client privilege at the detention facility, which began after two civilian Pentagon attorneys quit their case after finding the listening devices.


The two attorneys, Rosa Eliades and Mary Spears, represented a suspect in the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, in which 17 American sailors were killed. The case has been paralyzed by disputes over the listening devices, as well as questions from the case judge about his authority.

After the court demanded answers from the Justice Department on the surveillance, the Herald reports that war court prosecutors responded by saying the two attorneys could represent their own interests in the matter, which they had previously been denied, at the U.S. Court of Military Commissions Review. 

By moving the case to the military court, the D.C. civilian court was stripped of a reason to investigate, the judges wrote in a one-page order on Monday. The move avoids a civilian court investigating rights issues surrounding detainees at Guantánamo, which have been in question since the prison was opened.

University of Texas law professor and Pentagon court analyst Stephen Vladeck told the Herald that the Justice Department officials likely "were afraid of a deep dive from that [civilian] panel at this point."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMore than 300 military family members endorse Biden Five takeaways from the final Trump-Biden debate Biden: 'I would transition from the oil industry' MORE pledged to keep the military prison open during his campaign for president after former President Obama spent years unsuccessfully trying to shut down the controversial facility.