A #judge has agreed that Top #Secret evidence against a Guantanamo Bay detainee can be kept from defense attorneys.
In a 13-page decision, U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer rejected the pleas of Wali Mohammed Morafa, an Afghan citizen. Specifically, Morafa's attorneys won't learn of the source of the information used against their client.
The U.S. government alleges Morafa used the cover of money-changing activities to provide financial services support to the operations of the Taliban and other terrorist organizations. Many complicated legal proceedings have ensued, during which time Morafa's attorneys have held Secret clearances.
And here's the dilemma, as summed up by Judge Collyer:
"There is no adequate substitute available for certain relevant and material source-related information, classified at the Top Secret level. Accordingly, although the Court has reviewed that information in camera, Mr. Morafa’s counsel is unable to review it. Mr. Morafa objects to this outcome, arguing that the unavailability of such evidence to counsel must both preclude Respondents from relying on it to support his detention and preclude the Court from considering it in ruling on his habeas petition."
Prosecutors, Collyer noted, argued the source information was "much too highly sensitive" to be dislosed to Morafa's attorneys. The judge agreed, saying:
"Especially where, as here, a Guantánamo prisoner has access to the substance of the information provided by such sources, the Court recognizes the strong national security interest in protection of the identity of those sources."
But note this: In a potentially intriguing articulation of the necessity of judicial oversight, Collywer makes a point of noting that "Top Secret information of the kind at issue here must be available to the neutral decisionmaker even if not disclosed to Mr. Morafa’s counsel."