back to article CIA accused of illegally spying on Americans visiting Assange in embassy

The CIA illegally spied on US citizens while they visited WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, a lawsuit filed today has claimed. Assange, right now being held in a maximum-security British prison, is fighting extradition to America where he faces espionage charges for publishing a huge …

  1. VoiceOfTruth

    The truth is out there

    Assange merely exposed the USA for what it is. The footrests in London are happy to oblige.

    1. NoneSuch Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: The truth is out there

      Lord, if you are American you get inherent privacy rights.

      Rest of the world gets a middle finger and their Facebook slurped.

      1. rcxb
        Devil

        Re: The truth is out there

        > Lord, if you are American you get inherent privacy rights.

        HA! US citizens do not have any explicit right to privacy. Only in the case of government/law enforcement agencies that there are specific restrictions.

        And it's only a technicality that, since the CIA is a US organization, they have to follow some US laws regarding US citizens. The easy fix is for the CIA to just ask MI5, Mossad, et al. to spy on the US citizens for them, and hand over what they collect. And the arrangement goes the other way, as well. Politicians don't care about protecting the privacy of foreigners one bit.

        1. abstract

          Re: The truth is out there

          You don't understand the West at all. If needed (most of the time no one will question what these agencies do), depending on the period all you have to say is "communist threat, or terrorist threat, we have to be ahead of the threat to protect our freedom" and there won't be a single person to question what you do. Would you like to be called a traitor?

          Do some research and look at the number of crazy and obviously unrealistic projects that were funded with big money (from who's pockets?) in the name of "if we don't do it the Soviets will". It works all the time.

          Even abroad, look at the way the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were covered by the media : patriotic lies all the way. And when things get out of control, there is still Hollywood and it's army of pretenders ready for another "Saving private criminal".

          If you think "these" need any arrangement to do whatever they want, then you are still watching too much Hollywood...

      2. abstract

        Re: The truth is out there

        This is so far from the truth for a very simple reason: the more digital a society is the easier and obvious the surveillance is.

        Your bank account, your credit cards, ... tell a lot about you. Banks have files on their customers: they know you better than you know yourself. For all the pretexts that are linked to security, the governments have all those information too.

        If you are American you have inherent surveillance.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Crank conspiracies aside

    What do people think the CIA does?

    Not that they should pull any punches, they got caught with their hand in the cookie jar again. But why do you think state spy agencies exist? The UK's own spymasters were similarly caught out on this stuff. If we as a nation, not as individuals didn't want this, they would get more than a slap on the wrist. Watch and see how hard the ruler comes down if you want a guess and what's going on behind the scenes.

    I wish this targeting was just down to what a shady little creep and crybaby Assange is, but sadly it probably had more to do with the policy of attacking leakers as deterrence to future leakers. Hence the aggressive attacks on leakers of conscience, like winner, snowden, and manning.

  3. veti Silver badge

    Publicity seeking bullshit

    Assange was either in London, UK, or - if you hold to the "sovereign embassy" theory - in Ecuador.

    In neither of these places does US law, including the Fourth Amendment, apply.

    When will Americans get it into their heads that merely "being US citizens" gives them the right to enter, live and work in the USA, and that's all. Citizenship in itself confers absolutely no other rights whatsoever.

    Case should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge

      Re: Publicity seeking bullshit

      They generally get voting rights too, though DC and Puerto Rico are a little bit short changed in that respect.

      But I think that the aim of the lawsuit is partly to establish clearly what is and isn't a right to privacy — it's difficult to fight for a right that you don't realize you have lost.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Publicity seeking bullshit

        Most states (possibly every state, I don't know) removes the right to vote from some citizens, most obviously those convicted of felonies.

        Which proves that's not a right attached to citizenship, but merely a privilege granted very much at the state's discretion.

    2. MrDamage Silver badge

      Re: Publicity seeking bullshit

      If you bothered to read the article (or tried comprehending it if you did actually read it), it is about US citizens suing the CIA for violations of the 4th amendment. Nowhere does it say in the amendment that it is null and void the moment a person steps out of their country, It gives US citizens a universal right not to be spied upon by their own government, regardless of where they are in the world.

      >> Case should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

      - The war crimes happened in the middle east, not the USA.

      - Assange was in Europe (Or Ecuador*) at the time, not the USA.

      - The material was posted on the internet, not the USA.

      So, by your logic, the USA had no remit, recourse, or reason to want to extradite Assange, because nothing happened in the USA, apart form the complaints of being found out.

      *The embassy, sovereign ground etc.

      1. veti Silver badge

        Re: Publicity seeking bullshit

        By your logic, Americans should have the right to keep and bear arms wherever they go. The second amendment doesn't say anything about geography either.

        Actually, not just Americans - the amendment doesn't mention nationality or citizenship, either. It says, simply, "the people". That's everyone. Everywhere.

        But nobody tries to apply that interpretation, because it's self-evident bullshit. (Try carrying an assault rifle up to the door of the US embassy in, say, Tunis, see how close you get.) And so is this case. Whatever recourse the subjects of spying may have, the fourth amendment has nothing to do with it.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Publicity seeking bullshit

      U.S. laws apply to American government entities, including when they operate in other locations. American citizens retain certain rights from the U.S. government even when outside the country. If they can prove their allegations, the actions would be the fault of the CIA and U.S. federal courts would be able to rule on the action. They could similarly sue the company who performed the action in Ecuadorian courts using Ecuadorian laws about access to computers you don't own or attempt to pursue Spain-resident people who knew about the plan in Spanish courts on charges that they conspired to break those same laws. Judges may not permit all those actions, but they could be attempted.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Publicity seeking bullshit

        Yup, they'll get theirs. A bus ticket is simmering in a pan of warm milk as I write this.

    4. Blazde

      Re: Publicity seeking bullshit

      In neither of these places does US law .. apply

      There isn't a nation on Earth that more resolutely applies it's laws overseas than the US does.

  4. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Assange, right now being held in a maximum-security British prison

    Waoh. I didn't realise Assange was a super-villain who had to be triple-locked to ensure the safety of the World

    1. Wellyboot Silver badge

      He skipped bail for several years, anyone recaptured after doing that will end up inside. It's a high security prison because he's known to have associates willing to break the law in order to help him.

    2. abstract

      Those Chinese do whatever it takes to silence people. But don't worry Captain America will save him!

      ... Or maybe it's the other way around and the world needs a captain China to save it...

  5. Tubz

    and people think Jason Bourne is just fiction, most of the technical stuff that happens in those movies is kid stuff to the CIA and yes most overseas spook agencies do bend over to help them or get cut out of the intelligence pool.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    What were they thinking of? Why not leave any devices with someone trustworthy beforehand?

    Possibly they were taking in burner devices with this step in mind, otherwise they were ignoring the most elementary precautions.

  7. msobkow Silver badge

    Seriously? You have NO right to privacy while visiting criminals and others under investigation. They're the ones being spied on; you're just collateral damage and evidence against them. *LOLOLOLOLOL*

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