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 12:35 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
The possibility of pockets of air remaining within the hull of the sunken South Korean ferry offers hope to rescuers -- and relatives -- say experts.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Despite hundreds still missing after the sinking of a South Korean ferry, reports of text messages keep hope alive that there may be survivors yet.
updated 12:14 PM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
An Iranian mother slaps and then forgives her 17-year old son's murderer in dramatic scenes at the gallows.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Mentions of the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protests or political reform are still censored in China.
updated 5:31 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Russia's propaganda worse now than at height of Cold War, says Leon Aron, director of Russian studies at AEI.
Sanctions imposed against Russia are working as a deterrent, President Barack Obama and other White House senior administration officials said.
updated 12:40 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
A lack of progress in the search for MH370 is angering the families of victims.
updated 11:09 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
The searches for the Titanic and Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 share common techniques.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
An "extraordinary" video shows what looks like the largest and most dangerous gathering of al Qaeda in years.
updated 11:35 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
This year's Pyongyang marathon was open to foreign amateurs.
updated 8:30 AM EDT, Mon April 14, 2014
Explore each side's case, reconstructed from Pistorius' court affidavit and the prosecution's case during last year's bail hearing.
updated 1:53 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
How are police preparing for this year's 26.2-mile marathon, which takes place Monday?
updated 1:02 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
Katrina Karkazis
Romance is hard, for anyone. For people with intersex traits, love poses unique challenges.
updated 5:26 PM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
The "kill switch," a system for remotely disabling smartphones and wiping their data, will become standard in 2015.
updated 11:52 AM EDT, Thu April 17, 2014
Browse through images you don't always see on news reports from CNN teams around the world.
ADVERTISEMENT