Mike Pompeo, CIA sued for alleged ‘outrageous and inappropriate’ spying on Julian Assange meeting

Activist Julian Assange, two journalists, and two attorneys are suing the CIA and its former director, Mike Pompeo, for allegedly spying on them when they visited the notorious Wikileaks founder in London.

Journalists Charles Glass and John Goetz and attorneys Margaret Kunstler and Deborah Hrbek joined Assange in the suit accusing the agency of violating their constitutional right to privacy by gaining access to information copied from their personal devices between Jan. 2017 and March 2018 at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. A Spanish cybersecurity company called Undercover Global, which is the third defendant in the lawsuit, allegedly confiscated the plaintiffs’ phones, copied the data, and handed it over to the CIA.

“That was outrageous and inappropriate conduct by the government that violated the most profound privacy rights of the plaintiffs and others who visited Assange in the embassy,” Richard Roth, who is the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told Axios in an interview.

“Think of what we store in our phones and in our computers: birthdays, bank information, dates of birth. All of this was recorded then given over to the Central Intelligence Agency. The violations … were particularly egregious.” attorney Robert Boyle claimed, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The plaintiffs are asserting that the defendants’ behavior violated their Fourth Amendment right to protection from “unreasonable search and seizure.” Reuters notes that U.S. intelligence agencies are not allowed to covertly access the communications of U.S. citizens.

Undercover Global is accused in the suit of acting as an agent of the CIA under Pompeo, clandestinely recording conversations between Assange and the plaintiffs and then transmitting the recordings to the agency.

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 contends.

Assange was not a recluse by any means. In fact, he is a celebrity and had visits from more than 100 American citizens, including attorneys, doctors, Hollywood stars, and members of the media. He fathered two sons with his wife Stella during that time as well.

The political instigator sought refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy and was subject to the intelligence agency’s spying, the defendants allege.

Kunstler and Hrbek are former attorneys for Assange.

“The United States Constitution shields American citizens from U.S. government overreach even when the activities take place in a foreign embassy in a foreign country,” Roth informed Reuters.

Assange is facing 18 counts including hacking a Department of Defense computer as well as engaging in “one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the United States,” the Department of Justice charged in 2020. That came after he published national security documents related to the Afghanistan and Iraq wars on Wikileaks.

Assange has appealed to the High Court in London to block his extradition to the United States to face criminal charges. It is highly likely he will be extradited to the United States and will face charges for his actions.

Assange spent seven years in the Knightsbridge embassy in an attempt to evade extradition to Sweden where he faced charges of sexual assault. He was dragged out of the embassy in 2019 and jailed.

Pompeo branded Wikileaks a “non-state hostile intelligence service” in 2017. He vowed to go after the political antagonist.

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