Using the Wi-Fi connection at Starbucks was a better bet than risking putting confidential defense documents on a glitch-prone Pentagon computer network, a senior Defense Department official testified on Thursday at the Guantanamo trial of five prisoners charged with plotting the September 11 hijacked plane attacks.
The Internet link at the local Starbucks was “the best bad option that we had,” Air Force Colonel Karen Mayberry, the chief defense counsel for the war crimes tribunal, told the judge.
Defense lawyers have asked the judge to halt pretrial hearings in the death penalty case of the alleged plotters at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba until the computer system can be fixed to ensure that outsiders cannot access confidential defense documents.
Mayberry ordered her team of lawyers to stop putting sensitive documents on that system in April, citing their ethical obligation to protect confidentiality.
The lawyers have since been using personal computers to email documents from coffee shops and hotel lobbies. Mayberry said it was possible these networks were not secure, but she was certain that the Pentagon network had been compromised…
Some of the Internet problems were blamed on a switch in email systems. Others were blamed on an attempt to replicate lawyers’ work on two separate networks, one in the Washington area and one at the remote Guantanamo base.
Internet technology supervisor Paul Scott Parr tried to explain in laymen’s terms what went wrong. A “dirty shutdown” occurred when the server shut down while the replication program was still running, he said.
Backups that were supposed to occur daily had not been done for more than three months, Parr said. Seven gigabytes of data previously described as “lost” had merely been “misplaced” and had mostly been restored, he said.
The song remains the same: Military justice is to justice as military music is to music!