Press Release

Lawsuit Against Alleged CIA Spying On Assange Visitors Allowed To Proceed

December 19, 2023 — Judge John Koeltl of the Southern District of New York ruled that four American attorneys and journalists, who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange while he was in the Ecuador Embassy in London, may sue the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for its role in the alleged copying of the contents of their electronic devices.

Rejecting the arguments of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jean-David Barnea, who neither confirmed nor denied that the CIA had targeted Americans without obtaining a warrant at the first hearing in November, the federal judge has now ruled that the plaintiffs are allowed to proceed with the lawsuit.

Kevin Gosztola reports that a prior decision in Amnesty v. Clapper, which challenged the “legality of the bulk telephone metadata collection program” operated by the National Security Agency (NSA), helped Koeltl determine that the allegedly targeted Americans had standing to sue the CIA.

The U.S. government will likely appeal the decision.