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Friendly Reminder: Gitmo Lawyers Allegedly Showed Photos of CIA Personnel to Detainees

And the Justice Department won't comment.

1:14 PM, Mar 10, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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With everyone from the New York Times to Republican establishment lawyers and Lindsey Graham suggesting the Gitmo lawyers are proud heirs to the tradition of John Adams, it's worth recalling that three lawyers allegedly showed photos of CIA officers to 9/11 plotters -- and may have broken the law in the process. As the Washington Post reported in August:

The Justice Department recently questioned military defense attorneys at Guantanamo Bay about whether photographs of CIA personnel, including covert officers, were unlawfully provided to detainees charged with organizing the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Investigators are looking into allegations that laws protecting classified information were breached when three lawyers showed their clients the photographs, the sources said. The lawyers were apparently attempting to identify CIA officers and contractors involved in the agency's interrogation of al-Qaeda suspects in facilities outside the United States, where the agency employed harsh techniques.

If detainees at the U.S. military prison in Cuba are tried, either in federal court or by a military commission, defense lawyers are expected to attempt to call CIA personnel to testify.

The photos were taken by researchers hired by the John Adams Project, a joint effort of the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, to support military counsel at Guantanamo Bay, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the inquiry. It was unclear whether the Justice Department is also examining those organizations.

Both groups have long said that they will zealously investigate the CIA's interrogation program at "black sites" worldwide as part of the defense of their clients. But government investigators are now looking into whether the defense team went too far by allegedly showing the detainees the photos of CIA officers, in some cases surreptitiously taken outside their homes.

Eric Holder's Justice Department has shown a keen interest in investigating CIA interrogators and those who wrote the interrogation memos. Whatever came of the DOJ's investigation of the lawyers who may have outed CIA agents to al Qaeda? As far as I can tell, there haven't been any updates to this story in the Washington Post since September. Wouldn't it be good to know if any of the DOJ lawyers who represented or advocated for detainees were involved in the investigation?

Is the investigation ongoing? A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment, and an email to the ACLU was not immediately returned.

Update (1:37 p.m.): An ACLU spokesperson referred questions to the DOJ.

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