In February, it was revealed that the rooms in which attorneys meet with their clients at Guantánamo were equipped with listening devices made to look like smoke detectors (even though smoking is not allowed there). The attorney-client privilege is part of federal law, and the Supreme Court has interpreted the right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment to include the right to effective counsel. It is well established that an accused does not enjoy the effective aid of counsel if he is denied the right of private consultation with him. Yet there is no provision in the MCA that addresses the monitoring of communications between the accused and his attorney.
At the hearing last week, the defense asked Judge Pohl to temporarily suspend the proceedings until the defense could be fully informed of the extent of any third party monitoring of defense communications during legal visits with their clients. The defense also asked that necessary precautions be taken to ensure that such monitoring not take place in the future.Neither of the two witnesses who testified at the hearing had knowledge of any eavesdropping on defense communications. But Navy Capt. Thomas Welsh, the Staff Judge Advocate for the Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay (JTF-GTMO) testified that guards denied to defense counsel that any monitoring occurred because they feared they "could end up in court." The defense raised dangers of such an "insecure" system