Julian Assange’s lawyers and journalists who visited him at the Ecuadorian embassy in London are suing the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), alleging that the agency recorded their private conversations with Assange and swept their mobile electronic devices.
The suit claims that the CIA used security firm Undercover Global, which was running security at the embassy, to spy on Assange and his visitors. Visitors had to leave their devices with a guard before seeing Assange.
The suit also alleges that the security firm installed listening devices and provided video to the CIA. The lawsuit mentions the CIA, Undercover Global, and former CIA director Mike Pompeo as defendants.
We obtained a copy of the lawsuit for you here.
“The information contained on the plaintiff’s devices was copied and, ultimately, given to the CIA,” it reads. “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 claims.
The plaintiffs are Americans, and they argue that the CIA violated their constitutional rights to private discussions with Assange, an Australian.
Assange is currently facing extradition to the US from the UK. He was arrested for violating the US Espionage Act, by publishing leaked documents about the military’s time during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. He faces about 175 years for his charges.
Robert Boyle, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said the spying of Assange’s visitors has “tainted, if not destroyed” Assange’s right to a fair trial.
“There should be sanctions, even up to dismissal of those charges, or withdrawal of an extradition request,” Boyle told reporters.