LONDON (Reuters) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been the subject of a sophisticated spying operation in the Ecuadorean embassy where he has been holed up since 2012, the group said on Wednesday.
“Wikileaks has uncovered an extensive spying operation against Julian Assange within the Ecuadorean embassy,” Kristinn Hrafnsson, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief said, adding that Assange’s “eviction” from the embassy could happen at any time.
Hrafnsson did not immediately give evidence for his claims. Reuters was unable to independently verify the allegations.
Assange’s relations with his hosts have chilled since Ecuador accused him of leaking information about President Lenin Moreno’s personal life. Moreno has said Assange has violated the terms of his asylum.
To some, Assange is a hero for exposing what supporters cast as abuse of power by modern states and for championing free speech. But to others, he is a dangerous rebel who has undermined the security of the United States.
“We know that there was a request to hand over visitors’ logs from the embassy and video recordings from within the security cameras in the embassy,” Hrafnsson told reporters, adding that he assumed the information had been handed over to the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.
Assange took refuge in the embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden where authorities wanted to question him as part of a sexual assault investigation. That probe was later dropped but WikiLeaks fears the United States wants to prosecute him.
WikiLeaks angered Washington by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret U.S. diplomatic cables that laid bare often highly critical U.S. appraisals of world leaders from Russian President Vladimir Putin to members of the Saudi royal family.
Assange made international headlines in early 2010 when WikiLeaks published a classified US military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff.
Later that year, the group released over 90,000 secret documents detailing the U.S.-led military campaign in Afghanistan, followed by almost 400,000 internal US military reports detailing operations in Iraq.
More than 250,000 classified cables from US embassies followed, then almost 3 million dating back to 1973.