A Pentagon official overseeing prosecutions at Guantanamo Bay has upheld a contempt conviction against a Marine general defense chief who was briefly sentenced to confinement at the Naval base.
Brigadier Gen. John Baker, who heads up legal defense teams at Guantanamo, was initially sentenced to three weeks' confinement in his trailer after a military judge found him in contempt of court Nov. 1 for failing to comply with the judge's orders.
Baker was released after two days pending a review of the matter by the "convening authority" for Guantanamo trials, Harvey Rishikoff.
Rishikoff upheld the judge's actions and found them "correct in law and fact," but said Baker does not need to pay a $1,000 fine or serve the rest of his confinement term, according to a Pentagon statement late Tuesday.
The matter has now been referred for review by the Navy and other Pentagon bodies.
Significantly, however, Rishikoff acknowledged a concern at the root of the whole matter, which arose when Baker let civilian lawyers quit the case of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the accused mastermind of the attack on the USS Cole in 2000.
Baker let them leave over a series of ethical conflicts and a lack of confidence that their privileged conversations were in fact confidential.
Guantanamo prosecutors have previously admitted that microphones were stashed in smoke detectors in rooms where terror suspects and attorneys met, but claim the government didn't snoop on conversations.
"With regard to the underlying security concerns that led to the attempted resignation of defense counsel in the (Nashiri) case . . . the convening authority will also recommend to the Joint Detention Group at Guantanamo Bay that a 'clean' facility be designated or constructed which would provide continued assurances and confidence that attorney-client meeting spaces are not subject to monitoring, as the commission proceeds," the statement read.