Jun 06, 2022
A judge on Spain's highest court has summoned former U.S. Secretary of State and Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo to testify about an alleged Trump administration plot to kill or kidnap jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a report published on Friday.
Spain's ABCreports National High Court Judge Santiago Pedraz issued the summons, which compels Pompeo to testify as part of an investigation of alleged illicit spying on Assange by Spanish security firm U.C. Global while the Australian was exiled in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London.
Pompeo and former U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina are also being called to testify about an alleged plot revealed last year by Yahoo! News to abduct or possibly murder Assange to avenge WikiLeaks' publication of the "Vault 7" documents exposing CIA electronic warfare and surveillance activities.
According to Yahoo! News' Zach Dorfman, Sean D. Naylor, and Michael Isikoff, discussions over kidnapping or killing Assange occurred "at the highest levels" of the Trump administration, with senior officials requesting "sketches" or
"options" for assassinating him.
"They were seeing blood," one former Trump national security official told the reporters. "There seemed to be no barriers," said another.
U.C. Global whistleblowers allege company founder David Morales worked with the CIA to surveil Assange and Ecuadorean diplomats who worked at the London embassy. Former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa had angered the Obama and Trump administrations by granting Assange asylum as he resisted going to Sweden to face sex crime allegations over fears he would be extradited to the United States.
Assange is charged in the U.S. with violating the 1917 Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for conspiring with whistleblower Chelsea Manning to publish classified documents--which revealed U.S. and allied war crimes and other misdeeds in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world--on WikiLeaks over a decade ago.
According to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Assange has been arbitrarily deprived of his freedom since he was first arrested in London on December 7, 2010. Since then, he has been held under house arrest, confined for seven years in the Ecuadorean Embassy, and jailed in London's Belmarsh Prison, where he currently awaits his fate after a judge recently approved a U.S. extradition request.
A decision by U.K. Home Secretary Priti Patel on whether to extradite Assange to the U.S. is reportedly imminent. Press freedom, anti-war, and other advocacy groups have urged Patel to reject the U.S. government's request.
"Assange would be unable to adequately defend himself in the U.S. courts, as the Espionage Act lacks a public interest defense," 20 groups wrote in an April joint letter to Patel. "His prosecution would set a dangerous precedent that could be applied to any media outlet that published stories based on leaked information, or indeed any journalist, publisher, or source anywhere in the world."
Pompeo, who is also wanted in Iran for his role in the January 2020 extralegal assassination of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani in Iraq, is widely considered to be a possible 2024 Republican presidential candidate.
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