The Washington Post is reporting Tuesday that U.S. officials told visiting foreign intelligence and law enforcement teams that their conversations with Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspects would be recorded.
The newspaper said it has obtained documents that suggest the United States could have hundreds of hours of taped conversations between detainees at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba and officials visiting from other countries.
The U.S. government has denied requests from detainees' lawyers for tapes of interrogation sessions, which the defense attorneys believe could include evidence of threats or coerced statements.
A Pentagon spokesman told the Post that the videotaping of visits by foreign delegations was not standard operating procedure, but that some monitoring was done to protect the detainees and the foreign officials. He said monitoring was also used to collect intelligence.
Pentagon officials said more than 30 countries sent teams to Guantanamo to visit detainees, but the list of countries is classified.
The United States is holding about 270 detainees at the Guantanamo facility, which opened in early 2002 to hold terrorism suspects and alleged enemy combatants. The first detainee to be tried under the military tribunal system, Salim Hamdan, is awaiting a verdict by a jury made up of U.S. military officers.
Hamdan, a former driver for al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden, has been charged with conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism.
The jury began considering the evidence of those charges Monday afternoon. During the two-week trial at the U.S. naval facility, prosecutors said Hamdan was an active member of al-Qaida who delivered weapons for the terrorist group and helped protect bin Laden.
But the defense argued that Hamdan was a simple man who just wanted to earn a living and was not part of al-Qaida.
Regardless of the verdict, Hamdan, who is classified as an enemy combatant, is likely to remain in detention.