Colonel Peter Masciola served as the Chief Defense Counsel for the Office of Military Commissions in 2008 and 2009. He was appointed in the fall of 2008. Masciola was President of the Judge Advocate Association in 2001-2002.
On January 16, 2009, Masciola wrote:
“The perception of pervasive torture now saddles the incoming administration and its efforts to set these proceedings on a just course. There is only one way to begin changing that perception, and also the reality, of fundamental injustice: Withdraw the referrals now.”
Masciola stirred controversy in April 2009 when he fired William Kuebler, Guantanamo captive Omar Khadr's senior military counsel. Kuebler, in turn, suggested Masciola of a conflict of interest.
The two men have a difference of opinion as to what should happen to Khadr. Kuebler thinks Khadr should be repatriated to Canada, and undergo a supervised re-entry into civilian life. Masciola thinks Khadr's case should be transferred to the US civilian justice system.
Steven Edwards, writing in the Ottawa Citizen, reported that Kuebler had, coincidentally, been called into Masciola's office when Masciola received the phone call that informed him that Colonel Patrick Parrish had overruled him.
Citing an unnamed source the Citizen reported that Masciola was "not at all pleased" to learn Parrish wanted to overrule him. Masciola did not accept Parrish's ruling, and continued to decline to allow Keubler to meet with Khadr, to access the case file. According to the unnamed source:
"When the ruling came down, Col. Masciola said that he thought the judge was wrong and ordered Lt.-Cmdr. Kuebler to leave the office. Lt.-Cmdr. Kuebler asked to use the phone and he was told that he was not a member of the office and could not use any office equipment."
Masciola asserted that the Office of Military Commissions rules did not oblige the provision of a particular lawyer. Steven Edwards, writing in the Ottawa Citizen, reported that the Canadian government believed Khadr was entitled to representation by "counsel of his choice", and speculated that Masciola's actions may trigger diplomatic repercussions.
Parrish scheduled a hearing for June 1, 2009, to consider whether Keubler should remain as Khadr's counsel.
- Steven Edwards (2009-04-08). "U.S. military judge reinstates fired Khadr lawyer". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 2009-04-08.
- Steven Edwards (2009-04-08). "Pentagon colonel stands by decision to fire Khadr's lawyer". Ottawa Citizen. Archived from the original on 2009-04-08.
- "Past Presidents". Judge Advocates Association. Retrieved 2011-03-09.
- Aaron Wherry (2009-04-09). "'Dizzy yet?'". Maclean's magazine. Archived from the original on 2009-04-10.
- "Navy Lawyer Who Faulted Guantánamo Is Reassigned". New York Times. 2009-04-07. Archived from the original on 2011-03-09.
The chief defense counsel at Guantánamo, Col. Peter Masciola of the Air Force, concluded that Commander Kuebler’s removal was necessary to pursue “a client-centered representation,” according to a statement from his office. Colonel Masciola did not immediately respond to a request for further details.
- Michelle Shephard (2009-04-08). "Six years on, Omar Khadr's fate more uncertain than ever". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2011-03-09.
The fight between Kuebler and the rest of the legal team is why Guantanamo's Chief Defence lawyer, Air Force Col. Peter Masciola, fired him, on the grounds that he had poor management and that Khadr needed a more "client-centered representation." Masciola said military law gave him the power to do so - a military judge says it does not.
- "From child soldier to controversial inmate". Global News. 2010-11-01. Archived from the original on 2011-03-09.
Khadr’s U.S. military defence lawyer Lieutenant-Commander William Kuebler is fired. Kuebler had lodged a complaint about his superior in connection with the case, believing that Pentagon chief defence lawyer Colonel Peter Masciola supported the prosecution of Khadr while overseeing his defence.
- "US military plans tribunal session at Guantanamo". Associated Press. 2009-05-26. Archived from the original on 2009-05-29.
- Peter Masciola (2009-02-04). "Bullets in furtherance of meeting of 4 February 2009" (PDF). United States Department of Defense.