A new legal battle involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could pull casino operator Las Vegas Sands into the fight. Assange is suing the CIA in a case involving Spanish security firm Undercover Global, which Sands allegedly united with the US spy agency.
Reuters reports that Assange is suing the CIA for violating his civil rights. His lawyers accuse the agency of recording their conversations and illegally copying information from their cell phones and other devices.
The CIA was able to retrieve the data, according to the lawyers, with the help of Undercover Global. The now-shuttered company previously provided security services for Ecuador’s embassy in London, where Assange sought shelter after his massive data dump years ago.
Adelson In League with the CIA
Sheldon Adelson allegedly put Undercover Global and the CIA together in 2017. The late founder and chairman of Las Vegas Sands knew the company’s owner, Spaniard David Morales, who had routinely provided private security work for him and his family on trips through Europe.
Later, when Assange was holed up inside the Ecuadorian Embassy, Morales began making changes to the embassy’s security system. A former IT technician with the company told Spanish newspaper El Pais three years ago that, in 2017, he received orders to change the surveillance system. Where it previously never recorded audio, it was to now allow “American friends” to listen in. In addition, the company installed laser audio recorders and other surveillance devices.
In addition, per the new lawsuit, Undercover Global may have taken things even further. The legal team visiting Assange had to turn over their electronic devices in order to enter the embassy when they visited their client. When they did, the security firm allegedly assisted the CIA in copying the information on the devices.
The article that appeared in El Pais served as the basis for the new lawsuit. Undercover Global and its owner became the subject of a criminal investigation in Spain over allegations it provided clandestine services for the CIA in relation to Assange’s case.
Pompeo Approved Illegal Surveillance
Assange is in a London prison, where he waits to learn if the US will be successful in its bid to extradite him on charges of espionage. The Australian citizen recently found support to block that attempt from James Packer. The embattled founder and former CEO of Crown Resorts – and also a former friend of Adelson – donated AU$250,000 (US$174,000) to the Free Julian Assange campaign.
That money probably made it a little easier for Assange and his legal team to prepare for their David vs. Goliath battle against the CIA. Named as a defendant alongside the CIA is Mike Pompeo, the agency’s former director and former US Secretary of State. He served in the latter position when Donald Trump was president.
The lawsuit accuses Pompeo, in his capacity as head of the CIA, of approving the clandestine surveillance at the Ecuadorian embassy. As a right hand of Trump at the time, it’s possible the former POTUS knew of the activity, as well.
Assange’s new lawsuit doesn’t specify Sands and its role in the surveillance. However, if the company did help put Undercover Global and the CIA together, it could receive a subpoena to testify. Although Adelson cannot defend his actions, his widow or someone at Sands may have information about his involvement.
Several years after Lenin Moreno took control of Ecuador, he ordered Assange out of the embassy. Moreno then handed him over to British police for possible transfer to US authorities. Assange faces charges of espionage, the unauthorized disclosure of national defense information and more.
As Assange fights his extradition and his lawyers submit the new suit, the case against Undercover Global in Spain continues.
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