MiamiHerald / In a surprise move, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis on Monday fired the top official overseeing the trials of the five men accused of plotting the 9/11 attacks and other alleged war criminals held at Guantánamo.

It was not immediately known what caused Mattis to dismiss Harvey Rishikof , an attorney with experience in national security law who, unlike earlier war court overseers, had no U.S. military experience. Mattis named Rishikof convening authority for military commissions on April 3.

Gary Brown, the legal adviser for military commissions, also lost his Pentagon job. He was temporarily replaced by two lawyers from his staff.

The decision had no impact on ongoing war court proceedings, said Tom Crosson, a spokesman for the Department of Defense, because Mattis designated the general counsel at the Defense Logistics Agency, Jim Coyne, as acting convening authority. Coyne is a retired Army colonel who has served as DLA General Counsel since May 2016.


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