GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – A freight train derailment near Baltimore damaged fiber-optic lines serving the U.S. military, forcing the government on Tuesday to postpone a pretrial hearing at Guantanamo Bay in the case of five men charged in the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The accident disrupted Internet service and access to government servers as legal teams were preparing for the start of several days of pretrial hearings. A military judge approved a defense request to postpone the start until Thursday.
Officials were working with Verizon Communications Inc., owner and operator of the damaged fiber-optic line, to restore full service to the U.S. base in Cuba, the military said in a statement.
A military judge is expected to begin hearing arguments Thursday on pretrial issues. Among those are the rules for classified evidence and the question of whether defense teams have enough resources to defend their clients, who face charges that include murder and terrorism for their alleged roles in the attacks and could get the death penalty if convicted.
A trial date has not been set but it is likely at least a year away.
The defendants include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who has previously told authorities that he was the "mastermind" of the Sept. 11 attacks as well as more than two dozen other terrorist plots. He has been held at Guantanamo since September 2006, his trial delayed by a dispute over whether he should be tried by the military at Guantanamo or in a civilian court in the United States.