The sound was abruptly cut in the Guantanamo war crimes court on Monday, prompting the angry judge to question whether someone outside the room was censoring pretrial hearings for five men accused of plotting the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.
In all hearings for the alleged al Qaeda operatives who were previously held in secret CIA prisons, a court security officer seated near the judge controls a button that muffles the audio feed to spectators when secret information is disclosed. A red light flashes and observers hear nothing but static.
The feed was cut when David Nevin, a lawyer for the alleged mastermind of the hijacked plane plot, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, asked if the lawyers and judges needed to meet in closed session before considering a defense request.
When the feed was restored moments later, the judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, indicated it wasn't the court security officer who cut the sound in the proceedings formally known as military commissions.