February 1, 2024 – Former CIA officer Joshua Schulte is sentenced for leaking classified hacking tools (Vault 7) to Wikileaks in 2017

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Joshua Schulte at his sentencing, 2/1/2024 (Credit: Elizabeth Williams/AP)

Former CIA officer Joshua Schulte faces 40 years in prison for leaking a trove of classified hacking tools to WikiLeaks, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York announced Thursday. He was also found guilty of possessing child abuse images.

Prosecutors accused the onetime coder of passing on the CIA’s “Vault 7” tools, which allow intelligence officers to hack smartphones and use them as listening devices in what was variously described as one of the most “brazen” leaks in U.S. history.

Schulte, 35, shared some 8,761 documents to WikiLeaks in 2017, the U.S. justice department found. It was the single largest data leak in the agency’s history.

He denied the allegations, but was convicted on the various counts of espionage at three separate federal trials in New York in 2020, 2022, and 2023.

On Thursday, he was sentenced for charges of espionage, computer hacking, contempt of court, making false statements to the FBI and possession of child abuse images.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement Schulte’s activities saw him “rightly punished not only for his betrayal of our country, but for his substantial possession of horrific child pornographic material,” further adding:

Joshua Schulte betrayed his country by committing some of the most brazen, heinous crimes of espionage in American history. He caused untold damage to our national security in his quest for revenge against the CIA for its response to Schulte’s security breaches while employed there.

When the FBI caught him, Schulte doubled down and tried to cause even more harm to this nation by waging what he described as an ‘information war’ of publishing top secret information from behind bars… And all the while, Schulte collected thousands upon thousands of videos and images of children being subjected to sickening abuse for his own personal gratification.

Schulte worked for the CIA’s elite hacking unit from 2012 to 2016 when he quietly took cyber tools used to break into computer and technology systems, according to court documents.

After quitting his job, he sent them to WikiLeaks, which began publishing the classified data in March 2017. (Read more: Breitbart, 2/02/2024)  (Archive)