story

CIA, Mike Pompeo Sued for Spying on Assange's London Visitors

    CIA, Mike Pompeo Sued for Spying on Assange's London Visitors
    Last updated: 3 months ago
    Image credit: EPV [via El País]

    Facts

    • On Mon., a lawsuit was filed against the CIA and its former director Mike Pompeo, accusing them of illegally spying on US citizens who visited Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, thereby violating their Fourth Amendment rights. [1]
    • The four plaintiffs – attorneys Margaret Ratner Kunstler and Deborah Hrbek, and journalists Charles Glass and John Goetz – allege that the agency recorded their conversations and extracted data from their personal devices. [2]
    • They claim that Undercover Global – the Spanish company that provided security at the embassy – acted as a CIA agent, providing information it collected without the approval of the Ecuadorian government. [3]
    • According to the suit, more than 100 US citizens who visited Assange were subject to this clandestine data-gathering. The suit specifically claims these visitors were required to surrender their passports and devices to UC Global agents, the contents of which were surreptitiously copied and stored. [4]
    • This case for compensatory and punitive damages comes two years after two unnamed former UC Global employees testified at a London court that, after Trump became president, bugging operations intensified. A Spanish court is also investigating whether David Morales, founder of UC Global, breached Assange's right to privacy by allegedly conducting surveillance on behalf of the CIA. [5]
    • Assange, who lived at the Ecuadorian embassy for seven years, until his arrest in 2019, is wanted in the US for 18 charges, and could face up to 175 years in jail under the Espionage Act. Though the UK government ordered his extradition to the US in June, an appeal blocking it will remain in place until its legitimacy is ruled on by the High Court. [6]
    • Show more

    Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    By targeting a publisher as if he were an enemy of the state, the CIA has violated US citizens' constitutional right to privacy, as well as attorney-client and medical-patient privileges – not only related to Assange, but potentially to every client and patient who visited the Wikileaks founder. This is a totally absurd government intrusion that reveals the CIA's double standards in accusing Assange of the sorts of violations it routinely utilizes.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Assange is not a journalist, he is a spy leading an intelligence agency that has provided sensitive information to enemies of the US. He doesn't care about national security or about the lives he has put at risk, even having deemed them "collateral damage." Suggesting constitutional rights should protect his un-American and illegal activities is a gross misrepresentation.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that Julian Assange will be extradited to the US before Apr. 24, 2023, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Articles on this story