Bugging device found in Ecuador’s UK embassy where Assange lives

Ricardo PatinoBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The government of Ecuador has announced the discovery of a “hidden listening device” inside its embassy in London, United Kingdom, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has taken refuge. Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration, Ricardo Patino, said the device was discovered during a security sweep on June 14, in preparation for his official visit there. Speaking during a press conference on Wednesday in Ecuadorean capital Quito, Patino told journalists that the microphone was discovered inside the office of Ambassador Ana Alban, Ecuador’s envoy to the UK. Patino arrived in London two days later and met with Assange, as well as with Britain’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, William Hague, to discuss Assange’s case. The WikiLeaks founder has been hosted inside the Ecuadorean embassy for over a year, resisting extradition to Sweden, where his is facing charges of rape and sexual assault. Assange denies the charges are valid and maintains that the Swedish government is intent on extraditing him to the United States, where he is likely to face more charges over Cablegate. This is the term commonly used to describe the unauthorized release in 2010 by WikiLeaks of thousands of classified cables sent to the US State Department by American diplomatic missions around the world. Patino told journalists on Wednesday that he “regretted to have to inform” them about the discovery, which he characterized as “another instance of declining ethics in the international relations between governments”. He added that he had decided not to reveal the discovery during his London visit last month, because he did not want the purpose of his trip to be obscured by the incident. But in his 40-minute press conference, which is available on YouTube, Patino said that the Ecuadorian government would soon disclose the identity of the country or countries believed to be behind the placement of the listening device. Reuters, which carried the story on its website, contacted the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London, but officials there declined comment on Patino’s allegations. The news agency also contacted the office of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, but was told that there would be “no comment on security issues”.

8 Responses to Bugging device found in Ecuador’s UK embassy where Assange lives

  1. Pete says:

    Looks like Assange’s Command Post, which, in its secondary role is Ecuador’s London Embassy, is causing further headache’s for Ecuador.

    The bug is probably to record the communications of the most important person in the Embassy – who is not the Ecuadorian Ambassador.

    Having known about the bug for three weeks Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa is irritated that Assange is usurping the role of the Ecuadoran government, regarding Snowden and other Wikileaks causes. Correa declared that the safe conduct pass issued by Ecuador’s London Ambassador – in collaboration with Assange – is invalid http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/28/edward-snowden-ecuador-julian-assange .

  2. Paul says:

    It’ll be interesting to see who gets put in the frame for this one! Anyone remember the bugging of the London Pakistan Embassy in 2001? That was attributed to MI5 and Mr Blunkett issued the usual non-committal ‘regrets.’

    If there really is a device here then its probably either so old it works on gas or it was put in using a cut out …… aka ‘The Buggist!’

  3. Pete says:

    While the bug was hidden inside an electrical outlet in the office of the ambassador, the bug could be activated by a call from any mobile or fixed-line phone calls for the Ambassador or intended for Assange. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jul/04/ecuador-names-embassy-bug-surveillance

    Presumably the bug would pick up conversations between Assange and the Ambassador or when Assange kicked out the Ambassador to use the phone.

  4. Peter Wallerberger says:

    If the Ambassador was half as smart as he should be , he would have left the bug in place .

    One could have much entertainment running a carefully prepared disinformation campaign
    tailored specifically for those who you are sure are listening !!

  5. Paul says:

    Looking at the pic this looks like a relatively modern unit with a SIM card that you dial up [from any phone, world wide] and hear room conversations. These are freely available from the open ‘spy shop’ markets from London to Manchester and ebay.

    It wouldn’t be too difficult for one to be purchased just to display and make the claim. The records for its use would be available via the service supplier, it being little more than a one way mobile phone …… if I was Messr Pantino I’d have that traced before I went public for maximum effect, rather than hold up a plastic bag with the bits in.

    I agree Peter, better in place than not!

  6. TFH says:

    I rather think the Ecuadorian embassy has already grown tired of him (he is reported by former associates to be a somewhat difficult man to be around) but I hope history will have patience with mister Assange, directional sound (see wikipedia) can have strange affects on a man.

  7. Pete says:

    Funny that Ecuador has decided to point to a UK security company as the bug owner and bug placer.

    This even raises the possibility that one of Ecuador’s Latin American rivals hired the security company to place the bug.

  8. Paul says:

    That security company, not surprisingly is denying such work. If the bug was ever planted then a cut out would have been used, totally deniable. It’s all rather convenient with Mr Assange having been there a year of course.

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