The Defense Department's Miami-based Southern Command is sending an investigative
team to its prison facility at Guantanamo Bay to look into suspected security
lapses. The decision was made a day after a third suspect was arrested for involvement
with Taleban and al-Qaida detainees at the base.
|U.S. Naval Base
at Guantanamo Bay
Officials at the Miami headquarters of the U.S. Southern Command say a team
of investigators is being sent to the Guantanamo facility to look into security
procedures at the base. Three men have been detained during the past week,
in various locations, following allegations they were involved in illegal activities
at the base, where about 660 suspected Taleban fighters and al-Qaida terrorists
are being held.
Steve Lucas, a spokesman for Southcom in Miami, says the investigators will
work closely with members of the Joint Task Force, which runs Guantanamo, to
review a broad range of security procedures at the base.
"The Southern Command assessment team will be working jointly with the JTF
[Joint Task Force] staff this week to conduct an internal assessment into operational
security procedures and measures in place at Guantanamo," he said. "They will
immediately recommend reinforcement or correction of established procedures,
or the establishment of new procedures, depending on what their assessment
Three men; Muslim Army Chaplain James Yee, Air Force Senior Airman Ahmad
al-Halabi, and civilian translator Ahmed Mehalba have been detained by U.S.
authorities on suspicion of possible espionage at the base.
Captain Yee is suspected of espionage activities, but so far no formal charges
have filed against him. Airman al-Halabi, who worked as a translator at the
base, faces a variety of charges that include aiding the enemy and espionage.
Ahmed Mehalba, a naturalized citizen of Egyptian descent who also worked as a
translator, was arrested this week at Boston airport after customs officials
found a compact disc in his luggage that reportedly contained classified information.
Defense Department officials say those arrested had been under suspicion
for some time for illegal activities at Camp Delta, the high security facility
at Guantanamo where the detainees are held. There are about 70 translators
working at the base, and while Defense Department officials say there is no
evidence of a wider conspiracy at the base, they are investigating the activities
of others employed in sensitive positions.