GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba — A war court judge on Friday ordered the government to allow Salim Hamdan's attorneys to meet with the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 terrorist attacks before the start Monday of Hamdan's trial on charge he supplied material support to a terrorist organization as Osama bin laden's driver.
Navy Capt. Keith Allred, the judge in the military commission, said that Navy Lt. Cmdr. Brian Mizer should be allowed to interview Khalid Sheik Mohammed and six other so-called high-value detainees implicated in plotting the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. At issue for Hamdan is whether Mohammed and other alleged members of the senior al Qaida inner circle would offer testimony that would back his claim that he never anything more than a hired go-for for the al Qaida leader.
Prosecutors had consistently balked at granting Hamdan's lawyers access, but said Friday that arrangements would be made. Allred said this week that Mohammed and others should be allowed to testify. But by Friday afternoon it was not clear whether Mohammed would actually testify and if so whetehr reporters and other court observers would be allowed to watch.
Allred ordered that Mizer be allowed access to the men over the weekend.
The Pentagon has been assembling 22 witnesses for the trial. The government has predicted it would take 10 to 14 days to present its evidence, followed by a week or more of defense testimony.
'The CIA, which had kept Mohammed and the other alleged 9/11 conspirators in secret detention until turning them over to the military, has insisted that their former captives can talk only to people at Guantanamo with special classified security clearances. But Mizer already holds the needed clearances.