There is controversy at Guantanamo over a policy that allows authorities to review attorney-client communications. The Associated Press reports on one reason this policy was implemented in the first place:
U.S. prosecutors say a copy of a magazine published by an arm of al-Qaida made its way to a terror suspect at the Guantanamo Bay prison, leading to an inspection of cells and a contentious new policy requiring special review teams to examine correspondence between prisoners and attorneys.
Navy Cmdr. Andrea Lockhart told a military judge on Wednesday during a pre-trial hearing that a copy of Inspire magazine got into a cell. She provided no details on who received the magazine or how. But she said the breach showed prior rules governing mail review were not adequate.
The government apparently did not explicitly say at the hearing that a detainee’s lawyer was responsible for sneaking the Inspire magazine in, even though the issue was raised in the context of attorney-client communications. At least, there is no mention of it in the AP’s account. Of course, there is no conceivable reason the al Qaeda propaganda rag needs to be given to a detainee. It is a magazine devoted to encouraging acts of terrorism, anti-Americanism, and an irrational conspiracy theory about Zionists and Crusaders seeking to dominate the Muslim world.
Guantanamo has not been featured heavily in the magazine. The bulk of references to the detention facility made in the magazine are found in ex-Gitmo detainees’ biographies. That is because former Gitmo detainees hold leadership positions throughout Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the al Qaeda affiliate that has published Inspire. From the #2 position of AQAP on down ex-Gitmo detainees hold positions of prominence.
This isn’t the first time, of course, that objectionable material has been passed to the detainees. Years ago, authorities found that lawyers passed detainees an Amnesty International pamphlet that accused the U.S. of waging war against, and indiscriminately torturing, Muslims around the globe. It is ironic how some of the anti-Gitmo crowd’s propaganda matches that of jihadist terrorist organizations such as AQAP. Military officials at Gitmo found that the Amnesty International pamphlet gave detainees a how-to guide for making up claims of torture and abuse.
On another occasion, military personnel discovered that lawyers passed pictures of CIA interrogators to high-value detainees, including some of the 9/11 co-conspirators.
Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.