Cole attack suspect seeks Senate intelligence report on CIA interrogation techniques

The Associated Press
May 27, 2014 11:08 PM

FILE -- In this Sunday Oct. 15, 2000 file photo, investigators in a speed boat examine the hull of the USS Cole at the Yemeni port of Aden, after a powerful explosion ripped a hole in the U.S Navy destroyer, killing at least 17 sailors and injuring some 30 others. Prosecutors are asking a military judge in Guantanamo Bay to reconsider his order that they share with defense attorneys details about a detainee’s experience in secret CIA prisons after he was arrested in connection with the deadly attack on the USS Cole in Yemen. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis, File)

FORT MEADE, Md. - A Guantanamo detainee accused of orchestrating the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole asked a military judge Wednesday to order the release of a Senate report on the CIA's use of harsh interrogation techniques.

Lawyers for Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri made the argument during a pretrial hearing at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba. Attorney Richard Kammen asked Col. James Pohl to order the release to the defence team of the Senate Intelligence Committee's entire 6,000-plus page report, not just a shorter, redacted version being prepared for public release.

"It's all relevant and necessary," Kammen said.

Prosecutor Navy Cmdr. Andrea Lockhart said prosecutors also were seeking the report but didn't know when they might get it or how much they would have to share with the defence. Lockhart told Pohl it was too soon to order release of the report because it still was in the declassification review process.

"We don't have it yet," she said. "We're actively seeking to get it."

Defence lawyers are seeking details about al-Nashiri's treatment while he was held for several years in secret CIA prisons. A CIA inspector general's report says he was waterboarded and threatened with a gun and power drill. Prosecutors cannot use evidence obtained by coercion.

The Senate Intelligence Committee's report was designed to examine all detainees in CIA custody and almost certainly includes a lengthy look at al-Nashiri's treatment.

The committee voted last month to order the declassification of the report's executive summary and conclusions. Since then, the CIA has been reviewing those sections to black out any information that may compromise national security. No time frame for the public release of the documents has been provided.

The committee's investigation concludes the CIA tortured suspects and gained little in valuable intelligence. The CIA disputes those findings. But the disagreement has taken on added political sensitivity amid mutual accusations of illegal snooping related to the production of the report.

The Justice Department has received criminal referrals against both sides but is unlikely to intervene.

Last month, Pohl ordered prosecutors to share with defence lawyers other never-revealed details about al-Nashiri's experience in the secret CIA prison sites after his arrest in 2002. On Wednesday, the lead prosecutor, Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, urged the judge to reconsider.

Martins said the April order lacked an adequate rationale for the judge's decision. He also offered to help defence lawyers find references to al-Nashiri's treatment in the more than 1,000 pages of summaries the prosecution has provided.

"They need to study the material and help us hone what's relevant and helpful," Martins said.

Kammen asked the judge to stand firm on a ruling the defence lawyer called "courageous."

The Associated Press covered the hearing from a closed-circuit television link at Fort Meade, Maryland. It continues Thursday in a session closed to the public and news media to protect national security information.

Al-Nashiri's capital murder trial is set for February.

The attack on the Cole killed 17 U.S. sailors, injured 42 others and tore a massive hole into the side of the guided-missile destroyer.

Al-Nashiri, dressed in white, seemed relaxed as a watched the proceedings from a chair at the defence table, often resting his chin on one hand.


Associated Press writer Bradley Klapper in Washington contributed to this report.

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