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Tribunal for Cole attack case goes into secret session
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba
The war crimes tribunal for the Guantanamo prisoner charged in the attack on the Norfolk, Va.-based Cole is going into a closed session dealing with a subject so secret even the defendant can't hear it.
The judge hearing pretrial arguments in the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri rejected defense arguments that he be permitted to sit in on the hearing. Army Col. James Pohl did not rule out allowing al-Nashiri to attend future closed sessions. But Pohl ruled Thursday that the upcoming session would be sensitive enough to exclude him for reasons of national security.
The subject of Friday's closed hearing has not been disclosed.
Al-Nashiri faces charges that include terrorism and murder for orchestrating the al-Qaeda attack on the destroyer Cole in 2000, an attack that killed 17 crew members.
The officer in charge of the operations of the Guantanamo Bay prison also says hidden listening devices have been removed from rooms used by defense lawyers to meet with prisoners.
Army Col. John Bogdan says the microphones disguised to look like smoke detectors were not used to monitor private conversations between lawyers and their clients. But Bogdan says he had the devices pulled out of the rooms to remove any doubts.
He testified Thursday during the pretrial hearing for Al-Nashiri.
Lawyers for Al-Nashiri and for the prisoners charged in the Sept. 11 attacks expressed alarm in late January over the possibility of eavesdropping on their private meetings.
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