Four individuals connected to notorious whistleblower Julian Assange have filed a lawsuit against the CIA and its former director, Mike Pompeo, Monday for allegedly spying on them while visiting Assange in London.
The plaintiffs, journalists Charles Glass and John Goetz and attorneys Margaret Kunstler and Deborah Hrbek, allege that the agency violated their constitutional right to privacy by accessing information copied from their personal devices between Jan. 2017 and March 2018 at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. Undercover Global, a Spanish cybersecurity company and the third defendant of the lawsuit, allegedly confiscated the plaintiffs’ phones, duplicated the data and provided it 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, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs, told Axios.
The plaintiffs argue that the defendants’ behavior compromised their Fourth Amendment right to be protected from “unreasonable search and seizure.” In addition, U.S. intelligence agencies may not covertly access communications of U.S. citizens, according to Reuters.
US Attorneys representing Julian Assange launch lawsuit against Trump CIA director Mike Pompeo for illegally spying on their conversations
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) August 15, 2022
The lawsuit also claims that Undercover Global, as an agent of the CIA under Pompeo, recorded conversations between and among Assange and the plaintiffs and transmitted the recordings to the CIA.
“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 filing states.
Over 100 American citizens, including attorneys, doctors and members of the media, visited Assange, who was seeking political asylum at the embassy, and may have been subject to the CIA’s alleged spying, the defendants allege. (RELATED: British Government Signs Extradition Order For Julian Assange To Face Espionage Charges In US)
“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 told Reuters.
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