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Former CIA Hacker get jailed for 40 years due to information leaks

Former CIA Hacker get jailed for 40 years due to information leaks

Former CIA Hacker get jailed for 40 years due to information leaks

Former CIA Hacker get jailed for 40 years due to information leaks

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  • Schulte was found guilty of possessing child abuse images and sharing 8,761 documents to WikiLeaks in 2017.
  • Prosecutors argued Schulte’s revenge caused significant damage to the country’s national security.
  • The leak damaged the CIA’s ability to collect foreign intelligence against adversaries.
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The court has sentenced Joshua Schulte, a former CIA officer, to 40 years in prison for leaking a trove of classified hacking tools to the whistle-blowing platform WikiLeaks. Alongside his involvement in the data breach of the CIA’s ‘Vault 7’ tools, which empower intelligence officers to hack smartphones and utilize them as listening devices, Schulte, aged 35, has been found guilty of possessing child abuse images.

Prosecutors labeled the leak as one of the most ‘brazen’ in US history, with Schulte sharing some 8,761 documents with WikiLeaks in 2017. He denied the allegations but faced convictions on various counts in three separate federal trials held in New York in 2020, 2022, and 2023.

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

“Joshua Schulte betrayed his country by committing some of the most brazen, heinous crimes of espionage in American history,” said US Attorney Damian Williams.

Trial evidence revealed that Schulte, employed as a software developer in the Center for Cyber Intelligence, which conducts cyber espionage against terrorist organizations and foreign governments, transmitted the stolen information to WikiLeaks in 2016.

According to prosecutors, he subsequently lied to FBI agents about his role in the leak. Motivated by anger over a workplace dispute, Schulte, who had earned the nickname ‘Drifting Deadline’ due to his struggles to meet project deadlines, sought to punish those he perceived to have wronged him.

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Prosecutors argued that in carrying out this revenge, he caused enormous damage to the country’s national security.

The leak, according to prosecutors, immediately and profoundly damaged the CIA’s ability to collect foreign intelligence against America’s adversaries.

It placed CIA personnel, programs, and assets directly at risk, costing the CIA hundreds of millions of dollars. After WikiLeaks published the data, the FBI interviewed Schulte multiple times, during which he consistently denied responsibility.

Prosecutors revealed that a search of his apartment later uncovered tens of thousands of images of child sexual abuse materials.

They also noted that Schulte attempted to transmit additional information following his arrest. He smuggled a phone into jail and tried to send a reporter information about CIA cyber groups. Additionally, he drafted tweets containing information about CIA cyber tools under the name Jason Bourne, a fictional intelligence operative.

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