By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service
FORT MEADE, Md., April 17, 2014 – This week’s preliminary hearing for five suspects in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks ended today with the court considering an inquiry into whether a member of the defense’s legal team was contacted by the FBI.
The judge, Army Col. James Pohl, said it appears an FBI agent contacted a member of the defense team that represents Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. He added that an independent counsel might be appointed to Mohammed’s team, if the report bears out, and ordered the defense and prosecution to continue looking into whether any government agencies contacted former or existing legal team members.
The court could reconvene the preliminary hearing in June, officials said today.
The military commission has been underway amid tight security at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where the defendants are being detained as enemy combatants. Relatives of some of those killed in the attacks traveled to Cuba to attend the proceedings.
Chief prosecutor Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins told reporters “We are determined to move forward under the supervision of the judge. When each of us was assigned to this important mission, we were prepared for a marathon. We remain so,” and added that he is committed to staying as long as necessary to see the case through.