Now Julian Assange tries to sue CIA and Mike Pompeo: WikiLeaks founder launches legal action against agency and ex-director for ‘copying data from phones and computers and recording conversations’ as he hid in Ecuadoran embassy in London
- Assange, 51, has been living in a London prison since his asylum was withdrawn in 2019
- The US has been attempting to extradite Assange since a 2010 sexual assault investigation which has since been discontinued
- The attorneys, along with two journalists joining the suit, are Americans and allege that the CIA violated their US constitutional protections
- They said the CIA worked with a security firm contracted by the Ecuador embassy in London, where Assange was living, to spy on the WikiLeaks founder
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s lawyers have sued the CIA and former director Mike Pompeo over what the imprisoned journalist’s representatives say is recording conversations and copying data from phones and computers.
Assange, 51, has been living in a London prison since his asylum was withdrawn in 2019. The US has been attempting to extradite Assange since a 2010 sexual assault investigation which has since been discontinued.
The attorneys, along with two journalists joining the suit, are Americans and allege that the CIA violated their US constitutional protections for confidential discussions with Assange, who is Australian.
They said the CIA worked with a security firm contracted by the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where Assange was living at the time, to spy on the WikiLeaks founder, his lawyers, journalists and others he met with.
Assange is facing extradition from Britain to the US, where he is charged with violating the US Espionage Act by publishing US military and diplomatic files in 2010 related to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
A US lawsuit says the CIA illegally tapped into the conversations and communications that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange had with his American lawyers and US journalists while he was living in the Ecuador’s embassy in London
Pompeo was CIA Director during the time Assange’s attorneys allege his conversations and data were taken
The attorneys, along with two journalists joining the suit, are Americans and allege that the CIA violated their US constitutional protections for confidential discussions with Assange, who is Australian
Robert Boyle, a New York attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said the alleged spying on Assange’s attorneys means the WikiLeaks founder’s right to a fair trial has ‘now been tainted, if not destroyed.’
‘The recording of meetings with friends, with lawyers and the copying of his attorneys’ and friends’ digital information taints the criminal prosecution because now the government knows the contents of those communications,’ Boyle told reporters.
‘There should be sanctions, even up to dismissal of those charges, or withdrawal of an extradition request in response to these blatantly unconstitutional activities,’ he said.
The suit was filed by attorneys Margaret Ratner Kunstler and Deborah Hrbek, and journalists Charles Glass and John Goetz.
They all visited Assange while he was living inside the Ecuadoran embassy in London under political asylum, since withdrawn.
The suit was filed by attorneys Margaret Ratner Kunstler and Deborah Hrbek
Author and journalist Charles Glass is also a part of the lawsuit
The suit named the CIA, former CIA director and former US secretary of state Pompeo, and the security firm Undercover Global and its chief executive David Morales Guillen.
It said Undercover Global, which had a security contract with the embassy, swept information on their electronic devices, including communications with Assange, and provided it to the CIA.
In addition it placed microphones around the embassy and sent recordings, as well as footage from security cameras, to the CIA, the suit alleges.
This, the attorneys said, violated privacy protections for US citizens.
Assange is awaiting a ruling on his appeal of the British extradition order to the United States.
The charges he faces could bring a sentence of up to 175 years in prison.
The suit said that Spain-based Undercover Global was recruited to work with the CIA in 2017 by officials from the Las Vegas Sands casino group.
Las Vegas Sands was at the time controlled by the late tycoon Sheldon Adelson, a powerful conservative backer of the Republican Party who, the suit said, ‘had cooperated with the CIA on similar matters in the past.’
The suit said that while Undercover Global controlled security at the embassy, each visitor had to leave their electronic devices with a guard before seeing Assange.
‘The information contained on the plaintiff’s devices was copied and, ultimately, given to the CIA,’ they said.
‘Defendant Pompeo was aware of and approved the copying of information contained on plaintiffs´ mobile electronic devices and the surreptitious audio monitoring of their meetings with Assange,’ the suit alleged.
It said the defendants became aware of the spying only when the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported in September 2019 that Morales and Undercover Global were under criminal investigation in Spain.
El Pais revealed information on the London operations that had previously been sealed in the case.
Source: Read Full Article