CIA Director Sued for Spying on Journalists

Based on recent history, countries that spy on their journalists aren’t going down the best path if you value liberty.

Former head of the CIA Mike Pompeo has been served in a lawsuit for spying on journalists and lawyers who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange when he was an asylee at the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

The other defendants in the lawsuit are the CIA, security company UC Global, and its director David Morales Guillen.

The complaint claims the defendants violated the plaintiff’s Fourth Amendment rights and claims that UC Global spied on Assange’s visitors on the behalf of the CIA and forced them to leave their electronic devices at the entrance, then copied and transferred data on the devices to the agency.

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.

“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.

The plaintiffs include journalists John Goetz and Charles Glass, activist and human rights lawyer Margaret Ratner Kunstler, and lawyer Deborah Hrbek.

“If a foreign journalist can be prosecuted for publishing factual documents, then no journalist is safe,” Kunstler said. “And apparently Mike Pompeo believes that attorneys representing journalists should not be safe either. These actions are outrageous.”

The lawsuit seeks punitive and compensatory damages for the violation of the plaintiffs’ rights.

It also requests the court to order the CIA to remove all the information that was collected when they visited Assange, and to block the agency from providing that data to third-parties.

Assange is being held at a prison in the UK pending a ruling on an appeal to his extradition to the US.

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