GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba - Lawyers for the men accused in the Sept. 11 case at Guantanamo sought Wednesday to persuade a military judge to put the proceedings on hold until apparent security problems with a computer network are fixed.
The chief defense counsel for the military commissions, Air Force Col. Karen Mayberry, testified that she developed "severe concerns" about the Pentagon computer network used by legal teams after a number of problems emerged last year. The problems included lost data, emails that were mistakenly turned over to the prosecution or went astray, and apparent monitoring by network security personnel.
Mayberry told the court that the problems, first disclosed publicly in April, could expose privileged and confidential legal material in violation of the ethical rules that all lawyers must follow. "I determined that I no longer had confidence in the system that we were using," she said.
Lawyers for the five Guantanamo prisoners charged with plotting and aiding the Sept. 11 attacks have asked the judge to put all proceedings on hold until a new computer network can be set up for the defense, a process that is expected to take at least three months and cost millions of dollars.
Prosecutors oppose the request and have said the defense concerns about the network are exaggerated.
Mayberry was scheduled to resume testifying Thursday about problems with the computer network. This is the sixth round of pretrial hearings in the Sept. 11 case. A trial date has not been scheduled.