Former CIA officer jailed for biggest data breach in history

A geek who took offense at the spy agency leaked WikiLeaks secrets

The former CIA officer charged with the biggest data breach in the history of the American spy agency was convicted on all counts in federal court on Wednesday.

Photo: AP

Joshua Schulte, formerly of the US Central Intelligence Agency, who was accused of leaking a wealth of classified data to WikiLeaks in 2016, was convicted, among other things, of illegally gathering and sharing national defense information and obstructing a criminal investigation and jury trial.

According to CNN, Schulte worked as a computer engineer at the CIA's Cyber ​​Intelligence Center and created cybertools that could silently receive data from computers. Schulte defended himself in court himself. The previous trial ended with a jury in 2020.

Joshua Schulte had access to “the nation's most valuable cyber intelligence-gathering tools used to combat terrorist organizations and other malign influences around the world,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said Wednesday.

“When Schulte began to hold a grudge against the CIA, he secretly collected these tools and gave them to WikiLeaks, making some of our most important intelligence tools public — and therefore our adversaries,” states Damian Williams.

Joshua Schulte's troubles at the CIA began in the summer of 2015, when he began to clash with management and a colleague, eventually filing a restraining order against a colleague in state court, court records show. Schulte and a colleague were transferred as a result of a feud between them.

Investigators claimed that Schulte became furious when CIA officials wanted to hire a contractor to build a cybertool similar to the one he was building, prosecutors said.

According to court records, a year later, investigators said Schulte stole the cybertools and source code and handed them over to WikiLeaks. He then attempted to cover his tracks by erasing any and all traces of his access to the computer system, prosecutors said.

Schulte resigned from the CIA in November 2016. But in March 2017, WikiLeaks released the first part of the leaks that came from two programs that Schulte had access to, court records show.

WikiLeaks issued a press release along with information saying that the data was provided anonymously by a source who wanted to raise political questions, in particular whether the CIA had exceeded its hacking capabilities and its authority.

Schulte, who also allegedly lied to CIA and FBI investigators to cover his tracks, was arrested in August 2017 on charges of possession of child pornography. A few months later, he was charged with leaking data.

“Schulte was aware that the collateral damage from his retribution could pose an extreme threat to this nation if made public, rendering them virtually useless, having a devastating effect on our intelligence community by providing critical information to those who wish to harm us,” Attorney Williams said Wednesday. “Schulte was convicted today for one of the most brazen and destructive espionage acts in American history.”


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