An image of the hidden microphone used to bug an office in Ecuador’s London embassy, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been living for over a year, was revealed by Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino during a press conference Wednesday.
Patino told reporters the recording device was found beneath a desk in the office belonging to Ana Alban, the Ecuadorean Ambassador to the United Kingdom, according to Reuters. Patino said the microphone was discovered on June 16 before he visited the embassy to meet with Assange, who lives and works in a different room of the office. The British Foreign Office refused to comment on the matter.
“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.”
WikiLeaks tweeted a close-up image of the device, which Patino said held a SIM card and was designed to transmit private conversations from inside the embassy. The microphone is thought to have been in place for weeks.