Video shows Mike Pompeo being served with papers by Assange lawyers who say he violated their rights

Lawyers and journalists allege they had to hand over electronic devices before visiting Wikileaks founder

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Thursday 03 November 2022 16:25 GMT
Moment Mike Pompeo is served with papers by Assange lawyers who say he violated their rights

A video has allegedly shown former CIA Director and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo being served with a lawsuit brought by American lawyers and reporters who visited Julian Assange.

Footage tweeted by Wikileaks being handed the papers as he stands in front of a greenscreen.

“‘Michael Richard Pompeo: You’ve been served!’” Wikileaks tweeted on Wednesday morning. “Mike Pompeo has been served with a lawsuit brought by US lawyers and journalists who visited Assange. Spanish court documents show violations of their US constitutional rights. Plaintiffs are represented by NY attorney Richard Roth.”

Reuters reported in August that attorneys and reporters sued the CIA and Mr Pompeo, who left his job as a Kansas congressman to become the CIA director in January 2017, just days after Donald Trump was inaugurated.

Mr Pompeo left the agency in 2018 to become secretary of state, a role he held for the rest of the duration of the Trump administration.

The lawsuit concerns allegations that the CIA spied on the journalists and lawyers as they visited the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, while the Australian was staying at the embassy of Ecuador in London.

The plaintiffs have been reported as reporters Charles Glass and John Goetz and lawyers Margaret Kunstler and Deborah Hrbek, who have legally represented Mr Assange.

“The United States Constitution shields American citizens from US government overreach even when the activities take place in a foreign embassy in a foreign country,” Mr Roth said in August, according to Reuters.

The news agency said the CIA declined to comment on the legal action and noted that it’s prohibited from gathering intelligence on citizens of the US.

Several lawmakers have said that the agency secretly stores information concerning US citizens.

Mr Assange has made an appeal to the High Court in London to stop his extradition to the US where he would face criminal charges in a legal fight that has lasted for more than 10 years.

The August lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The legal filing stated that the journalists and attorneys had to give up their electronic devices to a private security company working at the embassy – Undercover Global SL – before they could meet with Mr Assange.

The lawsuit claims that the company made a copy of the information and gave it to the CIA, which was led by Mr Pompeo at the time.

Mr Assange lived at the embassy for seven years before he was arrested and sent to jail in 2019. He had entered the embassy in 2012 to escape extradition to Sweden where he was wanted on allegations of rape – claims Mr Assange has rejected.

US authorities want Mr Assange on 18 charges. One of them is a spying charge in connection to Wikileaks’ release of secret US military records and diplomatic cables, according to Reuters, which noted that supporters of Mr Assange argue that he has been made a victim because he revealed wrongdoing by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan.

ABC Spain reported this summer that Mr Pompeo had been summoned by a Spanish court to explain a plan to assassinate Mr Assange.

In September of last year, Yahoo News reported that in 2017, the CIA had planned to kidnap Mr Assange, and that “sketches” or “options” for a possible assassination had been requested.

A former counterintelligence official told Yahoo News that discussions took place at “the highest levels” of the Trump administration and that “there seemed to be no boundaries”.

The Independent has attempted to reach Mr Pompeo for comment.

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