The Central Intelligence Agency and former CIA director Mike Pompeo contend that attorneys and journalists, who visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, had no “legitimate expectation of privacy” when it came to conversations with a “notorious wanted fugitive in a foreign embassy.”
“There is no plausible argument that it would be unreasonable or indiscriminate for the government to surveil Assange, who oversaw WikiLeaks’ publication of large amounts of U.S. national security information,” the CIA and Pompeo additionally contend. “Thus, any alleged surveillance of Assange that incidentally captured his conversations with U.S. citizens such as plaintiffs would not violate the Fourth Amendment [right to privacy] as a matter of law.”
The statements are part of a motion to dismiss [PDF] a lawsuit that was brought by a group of Americans, who allege that they were spied on by the CIA when they met with Assange while he was living under political asylum in the Ecuador embassy.
When one considers that Assange has been held in detention at Belmarsh prison and faces Espionage Act charges for publishing classified documents, the government is essentially arguing that it may spy on any journalist who publishes such documents and “incidentally capture” the communications of anyone communicating with that particular journalist.