A hearing in the trial against several accused 9/11 terror plotters at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was halted Monday after several of the defendants said they recognized their court-appointed linguist as a worker at a CIA "Black Site" where they were held several years ago.
Alleged plot deputy Ramzi bin al Shibh, 42, made the revelation just moments into the hearing by informing the judge he had a problem with his courtroom translator: The interpreter, he claimed, worked for the CIA during his 2002 through 2006 detention at a so-called "Black Site."
"The problem is I cannot trust him because he was working at the black site with the CIA and we know him from there," he said...
Attorney Cheryl Bormann for another alleged plotter, Walid bin Attash, 36, told the judge, Army Col. James L. Pohl, that her client "was visibly shaken" at recognizing a man in the maximum-security war court.
"My client relayed to me this morning that there is somebody in this courtroom who was participating in his illegal torture," she said.
Bormann said it was either "the biggest coincidence ever" or "part of the pattern of the infiltration of defense teams."
The veracity of al Shibh's and Attash's claims against the linguist—a contractor—was not immediately clear, but the prosecutor got Judge Pohl to recess the court until Wednesday morning so the interpreter's background could be investigated. The judge also declined a request by defense attorneys to require the interpreter to answer their questions.
Monday's hearing was the first since August for the co-conspirators, who are accused of helping to plan the 9/11 attacks and could face execution if convicted.
Fox News, meanwhile, reported the detainees' accusations as a "stall" and "delay" tactic, adding as an aside that Bormann, Attash's lawyer, "wears a hijab in deference to her client's religious beliefs."
[Photo credit: AP Images]