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Ecuador: UK Bugged Our London Embassy
The embassy in question is the one in which Wikileaks boss Julian Assange is holed up:
Ecuador’s government said Wednesday that a microphone found in its London embassy, where Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is staying, was hidden inside an electrical outlet in the office of the ambassador.
Ricardo Patino told a news conference in Quito that the bug was found in mid-June when Ecuadorean technicians reviewed the embassy’s wiring.
The purpose of the hidden microphone was to listen to the conversations of Ambassador Ana Alban in her office, Patino said, holding up a picture of the purported bug. Assange lives and works in a different room in the embassy.
“We have reason to believe that the bugging was carried out by The Surveillance Group Limited, one of the largest private investigation and covert surveillance companies in the United Kingdom,” he said.
The foreign minister said Ecuador was going to ask for the cooperation of Britain’s government in investigating the alleged bugging.
Patino also explained his delay in coming forward:
“I didn’t denounce this at the time because we didn’t want the theme of our visit to London to be confused with this matter,” Patino said in a press conference Wednesday. “Furthermore, we first wanted to ascertain with precision what could be the origin of this interception device in the office of our ambassador.
“We are sorry to say so, but this is another instance of a loss of ethics at the international level in relations between governments.”
Predictably, The Surveillance Group Ltd. issued a swift denial:
A British surveillance company has denied Ecuador’s allegation that it planted a bug inside the South American country’s London embassy.
The Surveillance Group Ltd. Said Thursday that the claim was “wholly untrue.”
Chief executive Timothy Young said he and his company “do not and have never been engaged in any activities of this nature” and had first learned of the allegation from the media.