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3 Jun, 2022 10:50

Ex-CIA director called to testify on plot to kill Assange — ABC

A Spanish court has summoned Mike Pompeo, according to the outlet
Ex-CIA director called to testify on plot to kill Assange — ABC

A Spanish court has summoned former CIA Director Mike Pompeo as a witness to testify about whether the US government planned to abduct or even assassinate WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, ABC has reported on Friday citing its sources. 

“The judge of the National Court Santiago Pedraz has agreed to summon as a witness Mike Pompeo, former US Secretary of State and former CIA director, to explain whether the intelligence agency and the US government with Donald Trump at its helm drew up a plan in 2017 to kidnap and assassinate the founder of WikiLeaks,” the report read.

According to the outlet’s sources, Pompeo has been summoned to appear as a witness this June, although he may give testimony via video link. Pedraz made the decision after prosecutor Carlos Bautista supported the request made by Assange’s lawyer Aitor Martinez. 

In September 2021, Yahoo News broke a story alleging that the CIA plotted to kidnap the WikiLeaks founder, a plan that sparked fierce debates within the Trump administration over the legality and practicality of such an operation. Moreover, senior US officials reportedly went so far as to request “sketches” or “options” on how to assassinate Assange. 

Following the report, Pompeo called for the criminal prosecution of the sources who shared the story with Yahoo News, saying that they all “should all be prosecuted for speaking about classified activity inside the Central Intelligence Agency”. 

Julian Assange rose to fame owing to WikiLeaks’ pro-transparency activism and the publication of huge troves of leaked classified documents that exposed dark secrets of many governments, including alleged war crimes committed by US forces in Afghanistan and Iraq. The WikiLeaks founder has been confined in the Belmarsh maximum-security prison in London since April 2019 pending possible extradition to the US. 

In April, a London court issued a formal extradition order for Assange that is now subject to approval by Britain's interior minister. However, the WikiLeaks founder still has legal avenues of appeal. Should he be extradited to the US, he will be tried under the Espionage Act, which prohibits obtaining information related to national defense that can be used to undermine US interests.

The activist has denied all charges and his lawyers have argued that the defendant had not been under US jurisdiction and had engaged in completely legal journalism.