Defense lawyers for the alleged 9/11 plotters said for the first time Sunday that the government destroyed a secret CIA prison with secret permission of the trial judge, and they learned of it only after the fact.
Defense attorneys have been complaining about a mysterious destruction of evidence episode in a cloaked manner since May. Prosecutors have said they did nothing wrong but declined to explain with any specificity. After a closed session Friday, during which the judge apparently agreed some details were no longer classified, the defense lawyers laid out what they knew in a Sunday roundtable.
It did not appear that the “torture chamber,” as defense attorney Cheryl Bormann called it, was razed, lawyers said. Rather, their reading of case documents, some undergoing declassification, was that U.S. agents undertook a “decommissioning” of a secret, former overseas CIA “black site” still controlled by the United States. They got permission, for example, to removed “fixtures” — something defense attorney Suzanne Lachelier described as sounding like “contraptions or devices.”
Instead of seeing the U.S.-controlled former prison to “exercise our own professional judgment as to what to document about the black sites,” said defense attorney Jay Connell, the prosecution got permission from the judge to offer them a substitution: Top Secret photographs and diagrams of one stop in the CIA’s secret overseas network.