Benjamin Wittes

A Move Toward Military Commissions Transparency—And a Promise

Raffaela linked earlier today to the Weekly Standard article in which the new military commissions chief prosecutor, Brig. General Mark Martins, announced some important new steps towards transparency in commission trials. The point appears in passing in what is really more of profile of Martins, and it reads as though the magazine did not quite understand that Martins was actually breaking news when he disclosed that:

Military commissions will feature new measures to ensure transparency, including a venue enabling victims and media to observe proceedings near-real-time in the continental United States (40-second delay to ensure safeguarding of national security information) (emphasis added).

Carol Rosenberg of the Miami Herald did understand that this was something of a big deal. She writes:

If implemented, the new system would be vastly different from the one that has been in place for previous Guantánamo proceedings. In those cases, reporters and other spectators were required to fly to Guantánamo on specially arranged Pentagon flights. While there, reporters faced strict limitations on where they could go and what they could report, and the limitations and expense helped cut the number of news organizations covering events there.

And for readers of this blog, I think, it’s a particularly big deal–one that will meaningfully enhance the content stream we deliver.

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