Hot! Surveillance and Wiretapping at Guantanamo Bay

020613_Surveillance in NY Muslim Case_jonathan mcintosh

The lawyer, Navy Capt. Thomas J. Welsh, said the government does not use the microphones to listen in on client-attorney conversations. The microphones are hidden in boxes resembling smoke detectors.

Welsh said he became aware of the microphones when he saw a law enforcement agent in the control room (where meeting video is usually monitored for security reasons) wearing headphones and listening to a plea deal between prosecutors and defense lawyers.

The Washington Post is reporting that the issue arose after defense lawyers in the case against Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, and four co-defendants “raised concerns that the government might be listening to privileged communications.”

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The judge in the trial, James Connell, said that the audio that the OCA –   or the “original classifying attorney,” an official who determines what should and shouldn’t be classified — hears is different from the audio the general public hears. Observers hear proceedings after a 40-second delay that lets authorities censor unanticipated classified information. The two separate audio feeds – called “gated and ungated audio” – emit varying qualities of audio. While the public’s feed is less sensitive, and obviously filtered, the OCA feed can pick up faint background noise, like murmurs and chatter, which is what worries defense lawyers in the case, concerned their client conversations might be picked up.

Officials are investigating the use of the microphones as well as the courtroom technology.


Related blog posts: Freedom of the Press vs. FISA Wiretapping


Flickr photo courtesy of jonathan mcintosh


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