The Guantánamo military commissions were created in part to hide the Bush administration’s illegal and shameful use of torture while also permitting the use of information obtained through torture. The government contends that any testimony by the 9/11 defendants concerning their “exposure” to the CIA’s unlawful torture, rendition, and detention program is classified as “sources, methods and activities” of the U.S. and can be withheld from the public.
In May 2012, the ACLU filed a motion
asking the commission to deny the government’s request to prevent the public from hearing all statements by the defendants about their torture and detention while in U.S. custody. On that basis, the motion asked the commission to bar a delayed audio feed of the proceedings, or, in the alternative, promptly release an uncensored transcript. A group of 14 press organizations also filed a motion arguing for the media’s right to access all of the commission's proceedings. Oral argument at Guantánamo was held in October. In December, the judge granted the government's request, and in February 2013 the ACLU asked
the U.S. Court of Military Commissions Review to reverse that decision. Our request was denied in March 2013.