WASHINGTON -- Government prosecutors have asked a military judge to investigate how The Huffington Post obtained 36-page manifesto written by alleged Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, which they called "propaganda."
Military and Justice Department prosecutors said they filed an emergency request for an inquiry "as to how this letter was released" and to make sure processes at the military prison in Guantanamo "cannot be used to inappropriately disseminate propaganda," according to an email they sent this month to families of victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
"You have also voiced concerns about the ability of Khalid Shaikh Mohammad to communicate directly to the public with the release of his 36-page letter, published by the Huffington Post," the email states. "We filed an emergency motion on Monday, March 3rd that addresses this issue and requests the Military Judge to inquire of the Defense as to how this letter was released, and to take action to ensure that the Commission process cannot be used to inappropriately disseminate propaganda."
As first reported by Carol Rosenberg of The Miami Herald, a March 4 motion -- given the number AE-018Y -- is under seal on the military commission website. A description of the filing indicates that the prosecution asks that Army Col. James Pohl, the judge overseeing Sept. 11 prosecutions, order that an expedited process for declassifying communications should not be "a means for non-privileged communications to circumvent the Joint Task Force Mail System."
A military spokesman said after the publication of KSM's letter that the document "arguably had a legal character," but nevertheless should have been treated as "non-legal mail" subject to the normal screening process.
KSM addressed a copy of his "Statement to the Crusaders of the Military Commissions in Guantanamo” to an array of officials involved with the military commission, including the prosecution, defense lawyers and the judge, late last year. The unclassified document was later obtained by The Huffington Post and was published in January.
The letter weighs in on same-sex marriage, the military suicide rate, and cites social ills it claims result from the West's moral bankruptcy. "Their communities have been destroyed by the high rates of divorce, rape, robbery, killing, suicide, AIDS, and often depression, bankruptcies, abortion, drugs, homosexuals, homelessness, psychological disorders, mental illnesses and most of the U.S. prisons are over capacity and crime is everywhere among all races and states," he wrote.
Nearly 13 years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the prosecution against KSM and his codefendants is still in the pretrial phase. Prosecutors have said it's "very unlikely" the trial will start on Sept. 22, 2014 as they hoped.
Prosecutors said in their letter to the Sept. 11 families that they want the military court to address the legal mail issue immediately after it resolves an issue involving the mental competency of one of the defendants. The next hearings are scheduled for April.
The Obama administration, which has struggled with its five-year-old goal of closing the military detention facilities at Guantanamo, originally attempted to bring KSM and his co-defendants to New York for trial. Attorney General Eric Holder has said KSM would already be on death row if he had been tried in federal court.
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