The Defense Department has farmed out to a private company much of the criminal investigation and trials of the men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, according to federal records and sources affiliated with the trials who spoke to BuzzFeed News.
What’s more, the government has hired the same firm, SRA International, to serve both the prosecution and defense teams, sparking concerns of a conflict of interest that could undermine the integrity of one of the most significant terrorism cases in modern history.
“Where did these people come from; how did they get selected?” asked David Nevin, a lawyer for alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. “I have no idea. And that’s a problem, to say the least.”
The role of contractors in the Gitmo investigations raises questions about accountability at the notoriously secretive war court.
“It does surprise me,” Laura Dickinson, a professor of national security law at George Washington University, said of contracting out a major terrorism investigation. “It raises questions about who is running the investigation. The fact that there is so little transparency raises a red flag because we can’t evaluate if there are adequate accountability measures in place.”
The central role that SRA, a Virginia-based security logistics contracting firm, plays in staffing the prosecution and defense at GITMO has not been previously reported. BuzzFeed News obtained a contracting document dated November 2015, in which the Pentagon justifies using SRA and explains how much the government relies on the company.