Julian Assange’s guests were monitored by America’s premier intelligence agency. Now, Julian Assange’s lawyers and journalists are suing the CIA.
The CIA and its former director, Mike Pompeo, have been sued by a group of US journalists and attorneys for allegedly violating their constitutional rights by spying on them while they visited WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange while he was holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
The CIA was charged with violating the privacy rights of more than 100 Americans who met with Assange in 2017 and 2018, in the lawsuit (read below), which was submitted on Monday in the US District Court in New York City. The suit claimed that while the persecuted Australian-born editor and activist was seeking asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy, the agency—which is barred by law from gathering intelligence on US citizens—spied on journalists, attorneys, and even medics who paid visits to him.
John Goetz and Charles Glass, two attorneys who defended Assange in the case, as well as Deborah Hrbek and Margaret Kunstler are among the plaintiffs.
After the Ecuadorian government terminated his asylum status in 2019, Assange remained at the embassy for seven years before being dragged out and imprisoned by UK police. The lawsuit claimed that before meeting with Assange, visitors were compelled to turn over their cell phones as well as other digital equipment to Undercover Global SL, the embassy’s private security provider. The security company reportedly copied data from the devices and gave it to the CIA without the Ecuadorian government’s knowledge.
The lawsuit claimed that Pompeo, who was the agency’s director at the time, sanctioned and authorized the data theft, violating the plaintiffs’ Fourth Amendment protections against arbitrary search and seizure. According to the lawsuit, Pompeo threatened to take action against WikiLeaks and referred to it as a “non-state hostile intelligence service” while denouncing Assange as a “narcissist,” “fraud,” and “coward.”
The lawsuit alleges that UC Global also secretly recorded discussions between Assange and his guests for the CIA. According to the lawsuit, private information belonging to the plaintiffs’ acquaintances, family members, and business partners was also intercepted during the illegal snooping.
Assange is presently charged with 18 counts of espionage-related crimes by a federal court in the US, which his attorneys believe is retaliation for exposing “newsworthy truthful information” regarding American military atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan. The publisher is still detained in the UK and is resisting being extradited to the US.
The new lawsuit made reference to a number of the crucial files that WikiLeaks exposed, such as a US Army manual that detailed the mistreatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, video from an Apache helicopter that showed US soldiers killing Iraqi civilians, and a US Air Force report that discussed toxic burn pits on military bases.
Read the document below: