War on Terrorism

Monday, April 14, 2014

9/11 Proceedings Go Into Recess Before Competency Hearing

By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

FORT MEADE, Md., April 14, 2014 – Military commission proceedings for five suspects in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States went into recess this morning after a defense attorney said the FBI questioned a member of his team about the suspects.

The proceedings began today at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and a video feed here allows reporters unable to travel to Guantanamo Bay to cover the commission.

James Harrington, attorney for defendant Ramzi Binalshibh, introduced the FBI investigation at the start of this morning’s four-day hearing. He did not indicate why FBI agents recently questioned his defense team member, but said the individual handled classified evidence. The hearing was set to examine whether Binalshibh is mentally capable to stand trial.

“Some inquiry needs to be made,” Harrington told Judge James Pohl. “Until that’s done, I can’t see how anything can go forward.” Pohl allowed the defense motion to recess for the day to discuss potential legal consequences of the FBI questioning before proceeding with the hearing.

"It's worth noting that we are unaware of any investigation, and any such assumptions involve speculation," Army Lt. Col. J. Todd Breasseale, a Defense Department spokesman, told reporters.

The proceedings are expected to resume tomorrow.

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