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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

    Location: The mouth of being

    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Wednesday, May 07, 2008

    Not So Funny Comedy of errors as Pentagon war court complex debuts

    The Pentagon took its new $12 million war court complex out for a test run Wednesday with the arraignment of an alleged al Qaeda propagandist -- and the state-of-the-art facility failed.

    Wednesday marked the debut of the Pentagon's showcase ''Expeditionary Legal Complex'' -- designed to try six alleged 9/11 co-conspirators simultaneously.

    It is a maximum-security, eavesdropping-proof complex that arms security officers with a mute button to silence a defendant -- were he to blurt out a U.S. national security secret, such as where he was interrogated overseas by the CIA, or how.

    But Wednesday's trial run took place during more mundane proceedings -- an effort to arraign the 39-year-old Yemeni named Bahlul as an al Qaeda co-conspirator for allegedly serving as Osama bin Laden's media secretary in Afghanistan around the time of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

    ''This was a technical difficulty; this was not a kill-switch employment issue,'' said Air Force Capt. Andre Kok, a commissions spokesman inside the soundproofed room.

    An Army sergeant serving as the court technology specialist was later brought to the observers booth to explain, ''The hard-drive keeps crashing.'' They swapped out the hard drive several times and resumed the proceedings a little over an hour later.




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