Former Pentagon official says Guantanamo adviser must go

Miami HeraldSeptember 5, 2008 

A former Bush administration official responsible for detainee operations urged the Pentagon on Friday to replace the war court's top lawyer -- an Air Force Reserves general whom three military judges have excluded from portions of military commissions at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

In the latest ruling, an Army judge said Thursday that the terror murder trial of Canadian captive Omar Khadr, 22, can go forward on Oct. 8. But, should there be a conviction, the legal advisor, Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann, would be disqualified from reviewing it because of an appearance of pro-prosecution bias.

On Friday, Heritage Foundation scholar and former Pentagon Detainee Affairs czar Charles ''Cully'' Stimson fundamentally invoked a three-strikes-you're-out argument.

Because three military judges have now barred Hartmann, whose title is Legal Advisor to the Convening Authority, from various stages of different trials, the process was inviting more challenges and appeals in military commissions, he said. Specifically, he cited the prosecution of five alleged Sept. 11 co-conspirators, which Hartmann helped shepherd.

Stimson's comments were noteworthy in part because he had been deputy assistant secretary for detainee affairs at the Defense Department for nearly three years, then resigned that job amid another detainee controversy.

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