Former CIA engineer convicted of leaks to WikiLeaks

Former CIA engineer convicted of leaks to WikiLeaks

Joshua Schulte, a former programmer for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States, has been found guilty of leaking a cache of classified hacking tools and exploits to WikiLeaks. This cache is known as Vault 7, and it was leaked by Schulte.

The engineer, who was 33 years old at the time, was arrested in June 2018 and charged with unauthorized disclosure of classified information as well as theft of classified material. A separate trial will be held for Schulte's alleged involvement in the possession of child pornographic photographs and videos, for which he was arrested on August 24, 2017. These charges carry a separate sentence.

Schulte was found guilty of "one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history," according to a statement released by the United States Attorney for the District of Maryland, Damian Williams. Williams also stated that Schulte's actions had a "devastating effect on our intelligence community by providing critical intelligence to those who wish to do us harm."

The documents were eventually published by WikiLeaks on March 7, 2017, and the organization referred to this act as the "largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency." This included a collection of "malware, viruses, and trojans, weaponized 'zero-day' exploits, malware remote control systems, and associated documentation."

As part of its overseas spying operations to gather intelligence, the agency was able to compromise cars, smart TVs, web browsers, and widely utilized desktop and mobile operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS, according to the documents, which date from 2013 to 2016.

As a result of the information being exposed on the whistleblowing platform, it is believed that at least 91 of the tools that were developed by the Operations Support Branch (OSB) of the elite hacking unit have been compromised.

According to reports from the Associated Press, prosecutors believe Schulte was behind the leak as a form of retaliation against the company for disrespecting him and ignoring his complaints about the working environment. In his concluding remarks, he asserted that the leaked files were accessible to "hundreds of people" and that "hundreds of people could have stolen it."

The New Yorker painted the picture of a disgruntled employee in a fascinating profile about Schulte that was published last month. The article described him as "abrasive," "opinionated," and "obstreperous" during his time at the agency until November 2016, when he resigned and joined Bloomberg.

Schulte, who has been residing at the Metropolitan Detention Center in preparation for the trial, has described the conditions of his confinement as being "below that of impoverished persons living in third world countries" and as being comparable to a "torture cage." He is also said to have converted to Islam and fasted during the daytime hours of the month of Ramadan after making the conversion.

"Joshua Adam Schulte was a CIA programmer with access to some of the country's most valuable intelligence-gathering cyber tools used to battle terrorist organizations and other malign influences around the globe," said Williams. "These tools are used to combat terrorist organizations and other malign influences around the globe."

"When Schulte began to harbor resentment toward the CIA, he covertly collected those tools and provided them to WikiLeaks," the statement reads. "This made some of our most critical intelligence tools known to the public – and therefore, our adversaries."


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