The US really doesn’t want to admit it spied on Julian Assange

A new report Yahoo’s Michael Isikoff alleges that the US has been of little help to Spain as it attempts to determine whether a local security firm spied on Julian Assange at the request of the CIA.

Lawyers for the notorious hacktivist accused Spanish security firm Undercover Global (UC Global) of colluding with the CIA, alleging that the spy agency used the security firm to monitor Assange while he was locked up at the Ecuadorian embassy in London (Assange lived in the embassy from 2012 to 2019 after losing an extradition battle with Sweden over a case of sexual misconduct).

UC Global has been hired by the Ecuadorian government to provide security for its embassy in London, but company employees have reportedly engaged in a number of shady and possibly illegal practices to keep tabs on Assange, including installing a series of secret cameras and microphones to monitor his interactions with embassy visitors.

The High Court of Spain has been UC Global has been investigating since several company whistleblowers came forward in 2019 to make allegations about the company’s espionage efforts on Assange. Company CEO David Morales was arrested in 2019 but was later released. It is not known whether he will be the subject of official charges in connection with the case, as Spanish authorities are still investigating, and he maintains that the espionage was carried out at the request of the Ecuadorian intelligence service, SENAIN .

While Spain tries to get to the bottom of it all, the US isn’t particularly making it easy to put the pieces together. Spanish authorities have reportedly contacted the US Department of Justice a total of three times over a 17-month period in hopes of finding out whether the US has ever had a relationship with UC Global. According to the Yahoo report, the DOJ blew them up.

Instead of responding to requests, the DOJ “asked Spanish authorities for more information on the basis of the investigation,” Yahoo reports. This response – or the lack of it – would appear to bypass a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between the United States and Spain. MLAT are supposed to facilitate the exchange of information between governments for law enforcement purposes.

Assange has been on the U.S. government’s shit list since 2010 when Wikileaks posted a treasure secret military documents and diplomatic cables obtained by army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, a former military intelligence analyst. The documents showed, among other things, proof of potential “War crimes” in Iraq and Afghanistan. The release of the documents triggered various diplomatic and public relations crises for Western governments.

In 2019, an indictment of 17 charges against Assange was disclosed by the Justice Department in connection with Manning’s leaks. The indictment controversially indicted Assange under the Espionage Act, a federal law relating to the dissemination of classified national security information. The move was sharply criticized by newspapers and civil liberties activists as establishing a potentially dangerous precedent with regard to press freedoms and the First Amendment.

a Yahoo survey Last summer, he alleged that Assange had also been the target of assassination plots by elements of the Trump administration and the CIA. The report states that in 2017, several years after Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy, ​​the CIA began plotting to kidnap or assassinate him. Such plans were apparently inspired in part by the Wikileaks publication of “Vault 7”, a wealth of data on CIA hacking tools and procedures. Report earlier suggested that UC Global was aware of some of the plans.

We have reached out to the Justice Department for comment on this story and will update when we receive a response.

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