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posted by hubie on Friday August 19 2022, @07:22AM   Printer-friendly

Assange lawyers sue CIA for spying on them:

Lawyers for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange sued the US Central Intelligence Agency and its former director Mike Pompeo on Monday, alleging it recorded their conversations and copied data from their phones and computers.

[...] They said the CIA worked with a security firm contracted by the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where Assange was living at the time, to spy on the Wikileaks founder, his lawyers, journalists and others he met with.

[...] Richard Roth, the New York attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said the alleged spying on Assange's attorneys means the Wikileaks founder's right to a fair trial has "now been tainted, if not destroyed."

[...] It said Undercover Global, which had a security contract with the embassy, swept information on their electronic devices, including communications with Assange, and provided it to the CIA.

In addition it placed microphones around the embassy and sent recordings, as well as footage from security cameras, to the CIA.

This, Roth said, violated privacy protections for US citizens.

Anyone knowledgeable on the law who can help unpack all the legal angles here (non-US citizen, US lawyers, in an embassy in a foreign country involving a private company)?


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2022, @12:09PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2022, @12:09PM (#1267491)

    Are they arguing that Assange's privacy rights were violated, or the lawyers? That wasn't clear from the short article. Or if they are arguing his, could there be an angle that since he has been charged, the attorney-client privilege now exists, because foreigners subject to US trials do get a certain level (the same?) protection as citizens that they might have not had before they were arrested/charged. I'm pretty sure that issue came up for the Gitmo detainees at some point (though my memory is probably fuzzy).

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Spook brat on Friday August 19 2022, @04:31PM (1 child)

    by Spook brat (775) on Friday August 19 2022, @04:31PM (#1267524) Journal

    from TFA:

    The attorneys, along with two journalists joining the suit, are Americans and allege that the CIA violated their US constitutional protections for confidential discussions . . .
    Robert Boyle, a New York attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, said the alleged spying on Assange's attorneys means the WikiLeaks founder's right to a fair trial has "now been tainted, if not destroyed." . . .
    "There should be sanctions, even up to dismissal of those charges, or withdrawal of an extradition request in response to these blatantly unconstitutional activities," he said.

    My read of this is that based on the Lawyers being American, the lawyers are suing the CIA and asking for relief in the form of ending the prosecution against Assange. In a just world that should probably happen. In terms of realpolitik, this looks funny to me. I guess if there isn't an open court case to prosecute him yet, taking the CIA to court might make sense as a way to preempt the the trial before it even begins? The CIA as defendant in the lawsuit seems like they're barking up the wrong tree. It's unlikely to be the CIA who runs the prosecution, it will probably be a federal prosecutor working for the DOJ. I suspect that either the lawyers don't exactly know what they're doing, or they're simply taking the shot at the CIA because it was CIA agents who committed the violation of their privacy. In either case, it still seems like the wrong forum to get the relief they're looking for.

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    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday August 20 2022, @12:04AM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 20 2022, @12:04AM (#1267593) Journal
      It might wreck evidence collection, if the prosecution's case relies on evidence collected during this period. That's iffy since the alleged misdeeds predate the time he was in the embassy. It also publicizes poor decisions made by the US during this time. Spying on the Ecuadorians just because they're hosting the head of Wikileaks has some publicity and diplomatic blowback even if the case gets shot down.