The military trial has begun for U.S. Navy lawyer Matt Diaz, who is accused of leaking classified information to a civilian human rights lawyer. Diaz gave the names of 550 Guantanamo detainees to an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights.
The prosecutor told the jury that on Jan. 2, 2005, Lt. Cmdr. Matt Diaz sat in his office at Guantanamo Bay late at night, logged into his classified computer — and called up a spreadsheet: 39 pages containing the names of all 550 detainees at the prison camp, along with their serial numbers, nationalities and other data.
The prosecutor stood in front of the jury and held up a Valentine's Day card with a picture of a droopy-eyed Chihuahua.
"The accused cut the document so the nation's secrets would fit inside this card," he said. Diaz dropped the envelope in the mail on the last day of his six-month assignment at Guantanamo, the prosecutor said.
The defense team acknowledges that Diaz sent that Valentine to Barbara Olshansky, a civilian human rights lawyer.
But the defense lawyer told the jury, "Diaz did not send classified information — even if the government intended to classify it."
The defense says that because the document was not marked "Secret," it was not classified. That's half of the argument. The other half is about intent. For Diaz to be guilty of the crime, he has to have intended to harm the United States or advantage another country. His lawyers say Diaz had no such intent.
The first witness was Olshansky, the human rights lawyer who received the Valentine from Diaz. She heaved a big sigh as she walked to the front of the courtroom.
Olshansky said that when she got the Valentine, she didn't know what the document was. There was no indication that the spreadsheet came from the government. But the postmark was from Guantanamo, so she wondered whether the names were detainees.
The roster is public now, but it wasn't two years ago. Olshansky had been asking the government for the names, hoping to name the detainees in her lawsuit on their behalf. But the Pentagon had been resisting.
Olshansky testified that she didn't know the information was secret, but she gave it to the judge overseeing her detainee lawsuit. It then went to court security personnel, who conducted an investigation.
After fingerprint and computer analysis, the arrows pointed to Diaz.