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 6:58 PM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
ISIS has published a video titled "A second message to America," showing the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff.
updated 9:35 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Three Americans detained in North Korea spoke out about their conditions and pleaded for U.S. help in interviews with CNN.
Hundreds of jihadis in Syria are from abroad -- which countries have the biggest problem?
updated 3:51 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
CNN attends a funeral where mourners keep their distance.
updated 5:13 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Libyan militia members have apparently turned the abandoned U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, into a water park.
updated 7:26 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
A few miles south of the town of Starobeshevo in eastern Ukraine, a group of men in uniform is slumped under a tree.
updated 9:25 PM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014
Beijing says only candidates approved by a nominating committee can run for Hong Kong's chief executive, prompting criticism.
updated 4:23 AM EDT, Fri August 29, 2014
He should be toddling around a playground. Instead, his tiny hands grip an AK-47.
updated 8:23 PM EDT, Tue August 26, 2014
Wilson Raj Perumal tells CNN how he rigged World Cup games: "I was giving orders to the coach."
updated 8:21 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
In a major breach of privacy, a hacker leaked a series of pictures allegedly showing Jennifer Lawrence and other female celebrities in the nude.
Instead of weaving garments sold in the West, children should be in school
According to the International Labour Organization, there are 168 million child laborers around the world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT