Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, August 1, 2008; A13
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, July 31 -- The military trial of Osama bin Laden's former driver convened in a rare secret session Thursday to hear testimony from two defense witnesses that the government deemed highly classified.
Navy Capt. Keith J. Allred, the military judge, cleared the courtroom as the uniformed U.S. Army officers took the stand. Their entire testimony, other than their names and positions, was secret, though a redacted unclassified transcript is expected to be released later. The driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, and his attorneys were in the courtroom at the U.S. detention facility here.
The classified testimony adds a new layer of controversy to a military justice system that critics contend is essentially rigged to secure convictions. Hamdan is the defendant in the first U.S. military commission since World War II, and virtually all of the trial had been open until now. Prosecutors, who rested their case Thursday, say the commissions are a fair way to bring accused terrorists to justice.