US Pentagon won't say why war court overseer was fired, but he's not under investigation

20:32  07 february  2018
20:32  07 february  2018 Source:   Los Angeles Times

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The Pentagon for a second straight day declined to explain why Defense Secretary Jim Mattis fired his Guantánamo war court overseer of 10 months but said there was no investigation related to the abrupt departures.

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a large body of water with a city in the background: The original courtroom at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in this photo approved for release by the U.S. military. © WALTER MICHOT/Miami Herald/TNS The original courtroom at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in this photo approved for release by the U.S. military. GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba - The Pentagon for a second straight day declined to explain why Defense Secretary Jim Mattis fired his Guantanamo war court overseer of 10 months but said there was no investigation related to the abrupt departures.

Military Commissions Convening Authority Harvey Rishikof and his legal adviser Gary Brown were removed on Monday from their Virginia-based jobs, which have oversight of the war crimes trials of the alleged plotters of the Sept. 11 terror attacks and others. The two men were replaced, in acting capacities, by three veteran Department of Defense lawyers.

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The Pentagon "does not discuss personnel actions," Department of Defense spokesman Tom Crosson said Tuesday. "However, I can confirm that the Department has not initiated nor is it aware of any investigation involving Mr. Rishikof or Mr. Brown."

Rishikof has so far declined to comment on the firings. The Herald has been unable to reach Brown.

Crosson also said there was no immediate word on whether there were candidates to fill the positions.

Meantime, a 37-year career Department of Defense lawyer, retired Army Col. Jim Coyne, is acting convening authority while handling his full-time job as general counsel of the Defense Logistics Agency.

Coyne got his law degree from the University of the Pacific in 1980, a year before he joined the Army's Judge Advocate General service. Upon his retirement in 2008, he went straight to work for the Pentagon's Africa Command, according to his LinkedIn page, then returned to the Washington, D.C., area in 2010 to join the Defense Logistics Agency, a self-described combat support agency based at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

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