Skip to main content

Guantanamo video device watches, but doesn't listen to privileged conversations

By Mike Mount and Larry Shaughnessy, CNN
updated 8:08 AM EDT, Thu March 21, 2013
President Barack Obama signed an executive order on January 22, 2009, to close the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year. Five years later, the prison for terrorism suspects remains open, with 155 detainees (as of December 2013). Click through for a look inside the <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/11/opinion/warren-guantanamo-bay/index.html'>controversial facility</a>. Here, President George W. Bush's official picture is replaced by Obama's in the lobby of the headquarters of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo on January 20, 2009, the day the latter was sworn in as president. President Barack Obama signed an executive order on January 22, 2009, to close the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, within a year. Five years later, the prison for terrorism suspects remains open, with 155 detainees (as of December 2013). Click through for a look inside the controversial facility. Here, President George W. Bush's official picture is replaced by Obama's in the lobby of the headquarters of the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo on January 20, 2009, the day the latter was sworn in as president.
HIDE CAPTION
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Photos: Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Photos: Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
Inside Guantanamo Bay
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The device baffled defense lawyers at Guantanamo
  • Military lawyer says no one was listening to privileged conversations
  • A top U.S. commander says the device is used to watch what happens, but not listen

(CNN) -- A photo of a listening device in a room where attorneys met with terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay caused a stir this month, but a senior military official says it is a relic from the days when interrogations occurred in the facility.

A military judge hearing the case against the September 11, 2001, terror mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others ordered the photo released earlier this month.

The device baffled defense lawyers who speak with their Guantanamo clients in the room where the device, which looks like a smoke detector, was hanging.

This device is in a room where attorneys met with terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
This device is in a room where attorneys met with terror detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

One of the top military lawyers for the Gitmo detention facility said he looked into the matter and found no one was listening in on privileged conversations, The Miami Herald reported.

A top U.S. commander, who oversees the detention camp and U.S. military operations in the base in southeast Cuba, confirmed the device is not being used to listen into attorney-client conversations. But a video camera in the units watches the conversations.

"Years ago, that particular facility was used for another purpose, and that purpose required not only audio devices, but visual devices," Gen. John Kelly, commander of the U.S. southern command, told a Senate panel.

"It was not used for attorney-client rooms. The mission down there has morphed over time, so the room that they were using for attorney-client discussions still had equipment. But that equipment was not energized, it was not used and I can tell you that without question, we have not violated their rights by listening in," Kelly said Wednesday.

He said the audio portions of the devices were removed this week, but the video part of the mechanism will remain.

"Some of these men, arguably are dangerous," Kelly said in response to a question of why the video cameras would remain.

"And although you would think that their defense attorneys would be safe, I have a responsibility to protect the defense attorneys, as well, as I do the ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) that visits and the 5,700 non-DOD people that have visited Guantanamo since the beginning," he said.

"They weren't listened to. Yes, the video devices will remain -- temporarily, at least, and the attorneys will understand that," he told the Senate panel inquiring about the devices.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 1:18 PM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
This is how the two U.S. aid workers infected with Ebola will be evacuated from west Africa.
updated 2:18 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
While aspects of the fighting in Gaza resemble earlier clashes, this time feels different, writes military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 2:29 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
How did al Qaeda recruit a former Florida high school footballer?
updated 7:08 AM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Flowers, a teddy bear and the smells of jet fuel and death haunt the MH17 crash site.
updated 11:54 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
If India and the U.S. were Facebook friends, the relationship between them would be "complicated." Can John Kerry's visit change that?
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
updated 2:35 PM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
Take a look inside Airbus' new -- and surprisingly quiet -- A350XWB.
updated 11:31 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
What're you doing after work today? If you lived in these cities you could head to the BEACH!
ADVERTISEMENT