Assange Hacked Ecuador Embassy Comms System, Set Up Own Internet

Evarado Alatorre
May 16, 2018

Throughout this time, Ecuador has hosted Assange in an elaborate living arrangement that reportedly involves an office at the embassy converted into a studio apartment.

The government of Ecuador spent almost $5m to provide protected internet access to asylum-seeker Julian Assange and he responded by hacking their systems, an anonymously sourced report has claimed.

Assange initially sought asylum in Ecuador to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he was accused of multiple sexual assaults. WikiLeaks denied Assange had hacked the network. Those charges were dropped in May 2017, according to the Guardian.

The operation had the support of then Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa, the paper reported, adding that it has since been wound down under the country's new leader Lenin Moreno who took power past year.

Assange has been less warmly received by the current president, Lenin Moreno, who has called him a "problem".

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Documents obtained by the Guardian newspaper suggest that Ecuador spent an average of $66,000 a month to protect the high-profile fugitive. They showed "Operation Hotel" cost almost $1 million between June 2012 and August 2013.

The operation included monitoring all of his visitors, secretly filming the comings and goings at the embassy and considering a media strategy to improve his image, it said. Internal documents show he compromised the communications system within the embassy and had his own satellite internet access, allowing him to intercept staff communications. Assange claims the accusations were politically motivated and could lead to him being extradited to the United States to face imprisonment over WikiLeaks' publication of secret USA military documents and diplomatic cables in 2010.

Mr Assange has been visited by people including lawyers, USA rights campaigner Jesse Jackson, the former Baywatch actress Pamela Anderson and Brexit-backing United Kingdom politician Nigel Farage during his time inside the embassy.

The WikiLeaks tweet said it would sue The Guardian.

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