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Ex-CIA Engineer Found Guilty Of Leaking Information To WikiLeaks

A federal jury in New York City convicted a former Central Intelligence Agency software engineer of leaking classified documents to the website WikiLeaks. After a retrial lasting several weeks, the jury on Wednesday found Joshua Schulte, 33, guilty on all nine counts, including illegal gathering of national defense information. The leak, which WikiLeaks dubbed Vault 7 and published in 2017, detailed how the CIA breaks into computers, smartphones, messaging applications and television sets. WikiLeaks said Vault 7 was the largest ever publication of confidential documents from the agency, reports the Wall Street Journal. The trial was Schulte’s second. A different federal jury convicted him in 2020 of making false statements and contempt of court but was deadlocked on other counts. Schulte faces a separate trial on child-pornography charges.

Prosecutors said that in 2016, Schulte stole classified information from the CIA and transmitted it to WikiLeaks. He lied to FBI agents, falsely denying being involved in the leak and offering alternative theories about how the crime could have been committed. Schulte had been having troubles at work, with his main project agency so behind schedule that one of his tools gained the name “Drifting Deadline,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Lockard said. He said Schulte was a ticking time bomb who wanted to prove his superiority and punish people he believed had wronged him. “In carrying out that revenge, he caused enormous damage to this country’s national security,” Lockard said. While in jail, Schulte attempted to release more national defense information. He smuggled cellphones into jail and set up encrypted email accounts and services to disguise the location where the phone was being used. Schulte argued the government didn’t have sufficient evidence to prove his guilt. He called prosecutors’ argument that he was motivated by revenge “pure fantasy,” and said that while he was argumentative, he wasn’t angry.


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