The former president of Ecuador authorized a secret program to spy on the most famous – and only – guest staying at its embassy in London – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, The Guardian reported.
Former president Rafael Correa, at first aiming to protect Assange from the threat British detectives barging into the embassy and physically removing him, authorized the hire of a security agency to watch Assange 24×7 and install CCTV cameras throughout the embassy, the Guardian reports.
It was dubbed “Operation Hotel.”
And it logged every visitor that Assange had at the embassy for the past six years, possibly offering clues as to who gave him the trove of hacked documents that helped to bring down Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, reports the Guardian, which obtained documents detailing every aspect of “Operation Hotel.”
It’s not clear if special counsel Robert Mueller also has the documents or the trove of information gathered on Assange from the past six years. While the operation did not record his conversations, they spied on his every movement in the tiny embassy, including monitoring everything from his mood to his habits and sleeping patterns, the Guardian reports.
It was an expensive operation; Ecuador’s intelligence agency hired the outside firm at a cost of $55,000 per month, the Guardian reports.
Agents logged every visitor’s purpose of visit, their passport information as well as arrival and departure times, the Guardian reports.
Assange had 80 visitors in one month in 2016, the Guardian reports.
However, relations between Assange and Ecuadorians have grown thin. Correa lost his bid to remain as Ecuador’s president, giving way to Lenin Moreno who sees Assange as an “inherited problem,” the Guardian reports.
The Ecuadorians have cut off his internet access and forbidden him to have visitors.