Assange's Lawyers are Suing the CIA
Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange filed a lawsuit Monday against the CIA and its former director Mike Pompeo, alleging it recorded their conversations and copied data from their phones and computers.
The lawyers, along with two journalists joining the case, are American and claim the CIA violated their constitutional protections in confidential conversations with Assange. They said the CIA worked with a security firm hired by the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where Assange was living at the time, to spy on the WikiLeaks founder, his lawyers, journalists and others he met with.
Assange faces extradition from Britain to the US, where he is accused of violating the US Espionage Act by publishing US military and diplomatic files in 2010 relating to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Robert Boyle, a New York lawyer representing the plaintiffs, said the alleged spying on Assange's lawyers meant the WikiLeaks founder's right to a fair trial "is now tainted, if not destroyed." "The recording of meetings with friends, with lawyers and copying the digital information of his lawyers and friends, taints the prosecution because the government now knows the content of those communications," Boyle told reporters. "There must be sanctions, even to the point of dropping these charges or withdrawing an extradition request in response to these clearly unconstitutional actions," he said.
The lawsuit was filed by attorneys Margaret Ratner Kunstler and Deborah Hrbeck and journalists Charles Glass and John Goetz. They all visited Assange while he was living in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he was granted political asylum, which was later withdrawn. The suit names the CIA, former CIA Director and former US Secretary of State Pompeo and security firm “Undercover Global” and its CEO David Morales Guillen. It said that “Undercover Global”, which has a security contract with the embassy, took information from their electronic devices, including communications with Assange, and gave it to the CIA. The firm also installed microphones around the embassy and provided the CIA with recordings as well as surveillance footage, the lawsuit alleges. This violates the privacy protections of US citizens, the lawyers said.
Assange is awaiting a decision on his appeal of the British extradition order to the US. The charges he faces could carry a sentence of up to 175 years in prison.
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