Now the defense lawyers want 48 hours inside the place, to draw sketches or take pictures, to interact with their clients. All that information starts out Top Secret defense lawyers have high-level security clearances like the prosecutors. But the judge could allow some details to come out in court.
Prosecutors say the a two-hour tour would let the lawyers visit their clients cells, once the accused 9/11 conspirators are taken away.
Navy Cmdr Kevin Bogucki, attorney for an alleged plot deputy, Ramzi bin al Shibh, compared the proposed trip to the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland. Visitors ride past animatronic hippos and elephants, seeing precisely what management wants them to see.
Judge Pohl likened the idea to an open house but the family is not there so you dont know how things are day to day.
Defense lawyers say 48 hours gives them an idea of what its like when the guards are on their very best behavior. Nobody in court suggested that the guards can sustain it for just two hours and not 46 more.
But veteran defense attorney Jim Harrington of Buffalo came closest.
He told the judge hed defended a civilian guard who was accused of killing a prisoner after captive spit on captor at Attica and got enough access in trial preparation to go see the corners where you could take people to beat them.
We not only have to have an intellectual understanding of something, we have to have an emotional feeling for it, he told the judge.
Episodes that embarrass wont be hidden because they embarrass, says Army Brig. Gen. Mark Martins, the Pentagons chief war crimes prosecutor. But America is still waging a war on terror, he reminds, and some information can help the enemy.
So transparency is a pick-and-choose process at Guantánamo.
This week, the judge announced that he alone will choose when to close court, with the help of a security officer at his elbow who can mute the audio feed of open proceedings to the outside world.
Now he gets to decide if defense lawyers get a two-hour tour or a two-night sleepover at Guantánamos secret prison. If Pohl writes out his ruling, the intelligence agencies get up to 15 work days to scrub it before posting it on the place the public can see the Pentagon war court website beneath the motto Fairness * Transparency * Justice.
Unless, of course, the judge chooses to rule aloud in open court.