Former head of the CIA Mike Pompeo has been served in a lawsuit for spying on journalists and lawyers who visited Wikileaks founder Julian Assange when he was an asylee at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
The other defendants in the lawsuit are the CIA, security company UC Global, and its director David Morales Guillen.
The complaint claims the defendants violated the plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights and claims that UC Global spied on Assange’s visitors on the behalf of the CIA and forced them to leave their electronic devices at the entrance, then copied and transferred data on the devices to the agency.
The plaintiffs include journalists John Goetz and Charles Glass, activist and human rights lawyer Margaret Ratner Kunstler, and lawyer Deborah Hrbek.
“If a foreign journalist can be prosecuted for publishing factual documents, then no journalist is safe,” Kunstler said. “And apparently Mike Pompeo believes that attorneys representing journalists should not be safe either. These actions are outrageous.”
The lawsuit seeks punitive and compensatory damages for the violation of the plaintiffs’ rights. It also requests the court to order the CIA to remove all the information that was collected when they visited Assange, and to block the agency from providing that data to third-parties.
Assange is being held at a prison in the UK pending a ruling on an appeal to his extradition to the US.