A Washington federal judge today unsealed new information in a dispute over access to counsel at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.
In response to a motion filed by a reporter, U.S. District Senior Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the full version of a declaration on detainee search procedures filed by Col. John Bogdan be made public. The government originally filed the declaration under seal, and then released a redacted version. Today, Lamberth said the government had failed to justify keeping the remaining portions confidential.
"Before the Court will deem nonclassified information protected, 'the government must give the court a basis for withholding [the information] from public view,'" Lamberth wrote. "The government has failed to do so here."
Lawyers for the detainees had challenged the new search policy, arguing that requiring detainees to undergo groin searches before meeting with counsel was too restrictive and unlawfully designed to block access to counsel. Lamberth agreed, halting the searches in July. The government is appealing that decision.
In opposing the detainee lawyers' challenge to the new search policy, the government filed a declaration by Bogdan explaining the new search procedures. Jason Leopold, an independent investigative journalist and contributor to several news outlets, filed the motion to unseal the documents. Leopold was represented by Washington solo practitioner Jeffrey Light.