Guantanamo rules stir legal backlash

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The new commander of the Guantanamo Bay prison wants a team of government and law enforcement officials to be allowed to review all communications between lawyers and inmates accused of helping organize the 9/11 attacks, the Associated Press has learned.

The proposed changes, contained in a 27-page draft order, have sparked a backlash from the Pentagon-appointed attorneys for the five Guantanamo prisoners charged in the attacks. They say the new rules would violate attorney-client privilege and legal ethics and deprive the prisoners of their right to counsel.

The order has not yet been signed by the commander, a spokeswoman, Navy Cmdr. Tamsen Reese, said Tuesday. She said the commander, Navy Rear Adm. David Woods, was not available for an interview.

Lawyers for the 9/11 prisoners received the draft order from Woods last Thursday and were told to sign an agreement to abide by the rules within 48 hours. They sent a written response that requiring them to abide by such rules in order to see their clients was illegal. - AP

Assault reports up at 3 U.S. academies

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The number of reported sexual assaults at the nation's three major military academies rose in the latest academic year, a report released Tuesday by the Pentagon said.

Its "Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies" for academic year 2010-11 cited 65 reports of sexual assault involving cadets and midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy, and U.S. Air Force Academy. That was up from 41 reports of sexual assaults in the prior academic year.

"This is a leadership issue, first and foremost, so I also expect us to lead with integrity and with energy to eliminate sexual assault and harassment from our culture," Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said in a statement. "I'm confident the steps we are taking are the right ones, but we must continue to improve."

The Pentagon said it could not conclusively identify the reasons for the increases. However, it has worked to encourage more victims to report sexual assault, and the Pentagon said that could explain the higher number of reports. - AP

Sitter admits he killed, hacked girl

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - A babysitter and trusted neighbor confessed that he bludgeoned an Indiana girl, 9, to death with a brick and then dismembered her, hiding her head, hands, and feet at a home where he was staying and dumping the rest of her remains nearby, police said Tuesday.

Allen County sheriff's investigators said in an affidavit that Michael Plumadore, 39, admitted he killed the girl, Aliahna Lemmon, on Thursday. Authorities didn't say Tuesday why Plumadore killed her, but Sheriff Ken Fries said investigators suspected Plumadore was involved since soon after she was reported missing Friday.

A judge ordered Plumadore held without bail or bond, a sheriff's department spokesman, Cpl. Jeremy Tinkel, said. Aliahna and her two younger sisters were staying with Plumadore for about one week because their mother, Tarah Souders, had been sick. - AP