HACKERS AND SPIES

Ecuador Spent $5 Million on Spy Operation Protecting Assange

Ecuador spent a total of $5 million on a secret intelligence program to “protect and support” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living in the country’s embassy in London for about four years, according to documents obtained by The Guardian. The country paid about $66,000 a month for “Operation Hotel,” which involved undercover agents and a security company monitoring Assange’s visitors, staff, and British police, the outlet reported. The operation was reportedly approved by then Ecuadorian president, Rafael Correa, and foreign minister, Ricardo Patiño. Assange’s past visitors include U.K. politician Nigel Farage, members of European nationalist groups, and people with links to the Kremlin. “Hackers, activists, lawyers and journalists” are also among those who may have been monitored.