DECEMBER 9, 2022
USA News

Former CIA Engineer Sentenced to 40 Years for Leaking Classified Data to WikiLeaks

Former CIA Engineer Sentenced to 40 Years for Leaking Classified Data to WikiLeaks

oshua Schulte, a former CIA software engineer, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for leaking the agency's most valuable hacking tools to WikiLeaks. The hefty sentence comes after Schulte was found guilty of espionage, computer hacking, contempt of court, making false statements to the FBI, and child pornography.

Federal prosecutors labeled Schulte responsible for the CIA's largest data leak in history, likening it to a "digital Pearl Harbor." Attorney Damian Williams condemned Schulte's actions, stating that he betrayed his country and caused immense damage to national security in his quest for revenge against the CIA.

Schulte, who had worked in the CIA's elite hacking unit from 2012 to 2016, stole cyber tools used to breach computer systems and sent them to WikiLeaks after leaving his job. The leaked data, comprised of malware, viruses, trojans, and "zero day" exploits, compromised the CIA's ability to collect foreign intelligence, placing personnel, programs, and assets at risk.

Schulte was initially charged with child pornography offenses in 2017, with additional charges related to the theft and transmission of national defense information added later. Despite a hung jury on some charges in 2020, he was convicted on multiple counts under the Espionage Act and obstruction in 2022, followed by a conviction for child pornography charges in 2023.

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