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July 12, 2019

House Passes Schiff Amendment to Broadcast Guantanamo Bay Proceedings

Amendment Would Increase Transparency of Guantanamo Bay Military Commission

 Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) announced that the House of Representatives passed his amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) specifically authorizing military commission judges at Guantanamo Bay to order proceedings to be broadcast via the Internet. Currently, military commission proceedings, including high profile cases against individuals involved in planning the 9/11 attacks, can only be viewed by traveling to Guantanamo Bay or at highly limited closed circuit television sites on military bases.

“The military commissions at Guantanamo have been out of sight, and therefore out of mind, for far too long,” said Rep. Schiff. “As Guantanamo nears its third decade, and with trials still years away, it is all the more important that victim’s families, the media, and the public are able to follow the trials before the military commissions. I’m pleased that my amendment was included in the defense bill and it had now passed the House, and I will push for its inclusion in the final legislation.” 

In 2017, Schiff secured an amendment requiring the Government Accountability Office to study the feasibility and desirability of making commission proceedings available online. The GAO’s report, published in February 2019, found that there were no technical barriers to Internet broadcast, that concerns regarding classified information could be addressed using a broadcast delay, and that broadcasting proceedings online would greatly increase access for victim’s families, the press, watchdog groups, and the public.

Schiff’s amendment was passed by voice vote as part of an en bloc package of amendments. The NDAA passed on a vote of 220-197.