The judge overseeing the Sept. 11 mass murder trial has ordered prosecutors to go back and look at secrets sealed up in the court record to assess what the public can now see in light of this week’s revelations in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s so-called Torture Report.
The chief prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, declined to discuss the three-page order on Saturday — neither its substance nor its implications — because it was not yet made public.
But four attorneys who read it said the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, on Friday instructed the prosecution to carry out a sweeping review of more than two years of classified trial filings.
At issue is how much of the once-secret CIA interrogation and detention program can now be discussed in open court — and which classified filings can be unsealed — in the trial of the five men accused as conspiring to direct, train and finance the 19 hijackers who killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Pennsylvania and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
The alleged mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, 49, and four other men were formally charged May 5, 2012, but their death-penalty prosecution has been slow moving in part because of a superstructure of secrecy built around what the CIA did to them in the three and four years before they were brought to this base in September 2006 for eventual trial.
Now that the Senate Intelligence Committee has released a damning 524-page summary of its 6,700-page study of the brutal tactics the CIA used in its secret overseas prisons — and the trustworthiness of what their interrogations gleaned — information the spy agency once shielded at the Guantánamo war court as national security secrets is declassified.
One defense attorney interpreted the judge’s order to open to the public “all the torture methods” described in defense filings that are currently sealed as Top Secret.
“Judge Pohl ordered the prosecution to take a new look at the material they claimed was classified,” said Cheryl Bormann, who represents Walid bin Attash, 36, an alleged 9/11 plot deputy. “Revisiting the issue should result in the world finding out what happened to these men,” she said, adding that the public portion of the Senate report “doesn’t begin to cover the horror.”