Ecuador spent millions on a spy operation to protect and bolster Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in their London embassy, a report revealed Wednesday.
In an exclusive report, the Guardian revealed that the government of Ecuador had spent at least $5 million on intelligence operations as he received visitors ranging from Nigel Farage to individuals linked with Russia.
The intelligence program, which came to be known as “Operation Hotel,” cost Ecuador an average of $66,000 a month in a spending program that was reportedly personally approved by former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa and foreign minister Ricardo Patiño.
In January, the Ecuadorian foreign minister said that Assange’s continued stay in the embassy had become “untenable.” Yet should Assange be ejected from the embassy, he faces arrest by British authorities on charges of espionage and possible extradition to the United States.
On Wednesday, Assange’s organization Wikileaks also pointed out that the British government had spent an estimated $30 million surveilling Assange, equivalent to 100 full-time salary-equivalent positions per year.
UK has spent an estimated £22m ($30m) surveilling @JulianAssange through police forces alone-—under Theresa May as Home Secretary and as PM—more than 100 full time salary-equivalent positions per year. Spend classified by labeling the operation as 'covert' at £13.2m in Oct 2015 pic.twitter.com/V0HOFtaCBH
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 16, 2018