CIA ‘illegally spied on’ Americans visiting Assange • The Register

The CIA illegally spied on US citizens as they visited WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy in London, according to a lawsuit filed today.

Assange, who is currently being held in a UK maximum security prison, is combat extradition to America, where he is accused of espionage publish a huge collection of leaked secret documents, mainly messages from the US embassy in a searchable format and footage of military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A legal complaint [PDF], filed in New York City on behalf of four attorneys and journalists, alleges that the Intelligence Agency spyed on American citizens without their knowledge or consent in violation of their Fourth Amendment rights while they met Assange at the embassy. She is seeking damages from the CIA, then-CIA chief Mike Pompeo, who later became Trump’s secretary of state, a Spanish firm Undercover (UC) Global that provided security services for the embassy, ​​and the deal’s former CEO, David Morales Guillen.

The plaintiffs include civil rights and human rights attorney Margaret Ratner Kunstler, media attorney Deborah Hrbek, and journalists Charles Glass and John Goetz. The plaintiffs are suing, according to their federal court documents, to “protect their fundamental constitutional right to protection from unreasonable search and seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Apparently no one had heard of burner phones

In 2017 and 2018, the four American nationals and “hundreds of others” visited Assange, who at the time was seeking political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in the British capital. Before meeting the WikiLeaks founder, visitors had to hand over their smartphones, laptops and other electronic devices to UC Global staff.

After they turned in their electronics, UG Global, which the lawsuit alleges was acting under orders from then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo, apparently copied information stored on the Americans’ devices. According to the lawsuit:

Pompeo reportedly has too a request ignored by a Spanish court to testify in an investigation into claims the CIA and Trump administration planned to assassinate Assange.

The plan to spy on Assange’s visitors to the embassy began at a Las Vegas hotel, according to the lawsuit. And yes, it’s presented as if it were the typical beginning of a spy thriller movie, as it sounds.

UC Global has been awarded a contract to provide security at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London from 2012, we are told. One of the company’s responsibilities was to protect Assange.

In 2017, the CEO of UG Global, whom the lawsuit identifies as Morales, attended a private security industry conference called the Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show, or SHOT conference, at the Las Vegas Sands Hotel, according to court documents. During the conference, Morales was allegedly recruited to spy on Assange and his visitors on behalf of the CIA:

That deal involved the sale of information obtained through the illegal spying effort and had been “approved and authorized,” according to Pompeo’s lawsuit.

The CIA did not respond immediately The registry‘s request for comment. ® CIA ‘illegally spied on’ Americans visiting Assange • The Register

Laura Coffey

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