The Pentagon allowed five captured Al Qaeda members currently held at the Guantanamo Bay prison to use laptop computers in detention, raising concerns among security officials that the terrorism suspects could pass sensitive data to terrorists in the future, according to U.S. officials.
The Washington Times reports the computers, without Internet access, were provided to Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other suspected 9/11 conspirators at the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba after approval by senior Pentagon officials in September 2008.
The battery-powered laptops were kept in the detainees' cell areas, and limitations on their use were imposed, defense officials said. The practice continued until January, when charges against the five were temporarily dropped after Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the men would be tried in civilian court, not by military commission.
Holder then backed off plans to hold trials in federal court in New York City and said this week that a decision on where to conduct the trials is expected in the coming weeks.
In addition to Mohammed, the other Al Qaeda members who were given computers were Walid Muhammad Salih Mubarak Bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Adam al-Hawsawi.