Mike Pompeo has been summoned by a Spanish court to testify over claims the US plotted to assassinate Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder.
Judge Santiago Pedraz of Spain’s National Court is leading an investigation into whether UC Global, a Spanish security firm, spied on Mr Assange while providing security for the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where the Australian lived between 2012 and 2019.
A spokesman for the National Court said that Judge Pedraz had sent a request to US authorities to call the former US Secretary of State as a witness.
“There has been no reply as yet,” the spokesman added.
The alleged plot was first revealed by Yahoo News in November last year. The outlet reported that senior CIA and Trump administration officials discussed the possibility of kidnapping or killing Mr Assange after being angered by WikiLeaks’ 2017 publication of CIA hacking tools.
Talks took place at the “highest levels” of the administration, according to the report.
Mr Pompeo was the director of the CIA under Donald Trump from 2017 to 2018, when the Republican president appointed him secretary of state.
Lawyers representing Mr Assange in Spain allege that the US “orchestrated” the espionage effort against the activist, with UC Global placing microphones and cameras in the embassy to spy on private conversations and meetings.
Mr Assange is set to appeal the UK’s decision – taken last week by Priti Patel, the Home Secretary – to extradite him to the US, where he faces espionage charges and a potential 175-year jail sentence.
The wife of Mr Assange believes there has been a “shift” in the Australian government’s handling of the case since the country elected a Labour leader last month.
Stella Assange said Australia “should be speaking to its closest ally to bring this matter to a close”.
However, Anthony Albanese, the Australian prime minister, rejected calls from Mr Assange’s supporters to demand the US drop its prosecution of the activist.
Mark Dreyfus, the Attorney General, and Penny Wong, the Foreign Minister, said in a joint statement that the case “should be brought to a close”, but they stopped short of calling for the US to drop the prosecution. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)
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