Undercover Global S.L. (UC Global) was an international security firm, based in Spain, founded by David Morales, which was found to have betrayed its client, Ecuador, when it entered into a secret contract with the US Central Intelligence Agency to monitor Julian Assange, while he sought sanctuary in the Ecuadorian embassy, in London.
UC Global's secret activities, on behalf of the CIA, triggered an inquiry into the firm by the Audiencia Nacional, Spain’s highest court. At the inquiry Spanish officials learned that UC Global installed extra listening devices, not known to their clients, changed out the official video surviellance cameras to ones that also recorded audio, and planned to direct the livestream of the official cameras to the CIA. They hacked the cell phones and other personal electronics of Assange's visitors. They even planned to covertly steal the soiled disposable diapers of a child brought in on visits with Assange, that they suspected he had fathered, while he was at the embassy.
Assange's lawyers left their cell phones, computers and tablets outside rooms where they met with Assange, to make sure their microphones couldn't be remotely turned on. UC Global used this as an opportunity to copy the contents of those devices.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported that founder David Morales ordered those assigned to the Ecuadorian embassy to replace the exisiting cameras with cameras that had audio capability, but told staff, to deny that audio capability.
Those illegally monitored by UC Global went beyond Assange, his legal team, and his children. Former President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa was also surreptiously monitored. He believes the cell phones of his family were hacked.
On December 17, 2019, The Guardian speculated that the success or failure of the US request to extradite Assange might hinge on the CIA's illegal use of UC Global to spy on him, and his legal team.
- Ben Quinn (2020-09-30). "US intelligence sources discussed poisoning Julian Assange, court told: Extradition hearing told spying operation at Ecuador embassy included plot to take baby’s nappy". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2021-11-10. https://web.archive.org/web/20211101171650/https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/sep/30/us-intelligence-sources-discussed-poisoning-julian-assange-court-told. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "The witness was tasked in December 2017 with installing new cameras at the embassy that would, unlike the previous cameras, also record audio. They said Morales later instructed that the cameras should have a livestreaming capability 'so that our friends in the US' would be able to access the embassy in real time."
- Simon Hattenstone (2021-10-16). "Stella Moris on her secret family with Julian Assange: ‘He’s unlike anyone I have ever met’". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/oct/16/stella-moris-julian-assange-secret-family. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "In the end, Assange spent seven years at the embassy. Towards the end, the atmosphere became progressively more hostile, Moris says. They began to suspect that UC Global, the Spanish security company there to protect him and the embassy, was spying on him for the Americans."
- Clara-Laeila Laudette (2019-12-20). "Wikileaks' Assange appears in court in Spain spying investigation". Reuters (Madrid). Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. https://web.archive.org/web/20211001003220/https://www.reuters.com/article/us-wikileaks-assange-spain-idUSKBN1YO28Y. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "The case, led by Spanish judge Jose de la Mata, focuses on allegations that first cameras and then microphones were installed in the embassy between June 2017 and early 2018 by Spanish private security firm Undercover Global S.L."
- Jose Maria Irujo (2019-09-25). "Spanish security company spied on Julian Assange in London for the United States: Spain’s High Court is investigating the director of UC Global S. L. and the activities of his company, which had been hired to protect the Ecuadorian embassy in the English capital". El Pais (Madrid). Archived from the original on 2021-11-01. https://web.archive.org/web/20211101195920/https://english.elpais.com/elpais/2019/09/25/inenglish/1569384196_652151.html. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "David Morales, the owner of the company, supposedly handed over audio and video to the CIA of the meetings Assange held with his lawyers and collaborators. Morales is being investigated for this activity by Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional."
- Jose Maria Irujo (2019-09-29). "Spanish judge to question Julian Assange over Ecuador embassy spying claims". El Pais. Archived from the original on 2019-11-30. https://web.archive.org/web/20191130013540/https://elpais.com/elpais/2019/11/29/inenglish/1575044449_760169.html. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "This list of events under investigation, which EL PAÍS has seen, notes that David Morales, owner of the Spanish security firm UC Global, SL 'invaded the privacy of Assange and his lawyers by placing microphones inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London without consent from the affected parties.' It also states that the information thus collected was distributed to other people and institutions, including 'authorities from Ecuador and agents from the United States.'"
- Jose Maria Irujo (2020-04-15). "Spanish firm that spied on Julian Assange tried to find out if he fathered a child at Ecuadorian embassy: Owner of security company watching diplomatic building ordered a baby diaper stolen in a bid to find DNA". El Pais (Madrid). https://english.elpais.com/international/2020-04-15/spanish-firm-that-spied-on-julian-assange-tried-to-find-out-if-he-fathered-a-child-at-ecuadorian-embassy.html. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "David Morales, a former military official who owns the security firm Undercover Global SL, is under investigation by Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, for spying on Assange’s meetings with his lawyers and allegedly handing information to the CIA."
- Bill Goodwin; Ter García (2020-07-30). "Former UC Global staff confirm Embassy surveillance operation against Julian Assange: Spanish court investigates claims that security company illegally recorded meetings between Julian Assange, politicians, lawyers and celebrities at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London". Computer Weekly. Archived from the original on 2021-08-18. https://web.archive.org/web/20210818220141/https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252486923/Former-UC-Global-staff-confirm-Embassy-surveillance-operation-against-Julian-Assange. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "One of the victims of the operation is the former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. Court documents show that UC Global staff secretly photographed Correa at a meeting at Spain’s Adolfo Suárez-Barajas Airport. Correa claims the mobile phones of his family were hacked."
- Tamar Lapin (2019-04-14). "Watch Julian Assange fumble with a skateboard inside Ecuadorian embassy". New York Post. Archived from the original on 2020-12-11. https://web.archive.org/web/20201211122054/https://nypost.com/2019/04/14/watch-julian-assange-fumble-with-a-skateboard-inside-ecuadorian-embassy/. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "It’s unclear when the footage was taken, but El Pais reported that it came from the Spanish security firm Undercover Global S.L, tasked with protecting Assange until 2017."
- Kevin Gosztola (2021-10-26). "A GUIDE TO THE U.S. GOVERNMENT’S APPEAL IN THE ASSANGE EXTRADITION CASE". Shadowproof. Archived from the original on 2021-11-08. https://web.archive.org/web/20211108225426/https://shadowproof.com/2021/10/26/a-guide-to-the-u-s-governments-appeal-in-the-assange-extradition-case/. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "The CIA backed an espionage operation against the Ecuador embassy that was conducted by Undercover Global. They collected legally-privileged conversations among attorneys and broke into the personal devices of guests visiting Assange."
- "Court probes Spanish firm's spying on Assange at Ecuadorian embassy". The Local (Spain). 2019-10-10. Archived from the original on 2019-10-10. https://web.archive.org/web/20191010085720/https://www.thelocal.es/20191010/court-probes-spanish-firms-spying-of-assange-at-ecuadorian-embassy/. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "The company and its owner are also being probed for money laundering and bribery, the document added."
- Ben Doherty; Amy Remeikis (2019-12-17). "Julian Assange’s extradition fight could turn on reports he was spied on for CIA: Allegations a security firm at Ecuadorian embassy gave footage to CIA come as 100 doctors urge Australia to protect him". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2021-10-01. https://web.archive.org/web/20211001014655/https://www.theguardian.com/media/2019/dec/17/julian-assanges-extradition-fight-could-turn-on-reports-he-was-spied-on-for-cia. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "Speaking to the International Law Association in Sydney, Guy Goodwin-Gill, a professor of law at the University of New South Wales who has provided advice on asylum issues to the Assange legal team, said Assange’s fight against extradition would be a long contest and that allegations he was being spied on would likely form part of legal arguments he could not receive a fair trial in the US."
- Derek Scally (2020-09-07). "US intelligence ‘spied on Julian Assange around the clock’: German newspaper claims Spanish security firm hid microphones in London embassy". Irish Times (Berlin). Archived from the original on 2021-01-11. https://web.archive.org/web/20210111003552/https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/us-intelligence-spied-on-julian-assange-around-the-clock-1.4348824. Retrieved 2021-11-15. "Six months later Mr Morales reportedly insisted all cameras in the embassy be replaced with new ones that recorded sound, but that technicians should deny their sound capabilities if asked. Additional hidden microphones were reportedly placed in the conference room fire extinguisher and in the women’s toilets, where Mr Assange held confidential conversations."