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Updated February 2nd, 2024 at 18:46 IST

Ex-CIA Engineer Sentenced to 40 Years for Leaking Docs to Wikileaks, Child Porn Possession

Schulte was top suspect for the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the famous leak of 'Vault 7' secrets using the computer hacking tool.

Digital Desk
Ex CIA Engineer US Wikileaks
A jury reached the guilty verdict against Joshua Schulte on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 in federal court in Manhattan. | Image:(Elizabeth Williams via AP)
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An ex CIA software engineer, Joshua Schulte, 35, was convicted on Thursday and sentenced to 40 years in prison for leaking trove of confidential and classified trove of material to Wikileaks in 2017, in what the prosecutors labelled as the “theft.” Schulte was also accused for beign in possession of child pornogaphy and sexual abuse images and videos, leading the prosecutor to label him as the “predator” and a “traitor.” The former CIA engineer was handed the sentence by he Manhattan federal court, New York.

Schulte was the top suspect for the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for the famous leak of 'Vault 7' secrets using the computer hacking tool in one of the biggest espionage operations. The documents consisted of an estimated 8000 pages of confidential information. The former CIA employee worked for the agency’s Engineering Development Group, that is responsible for writing the odes in cyber espionage. He was arrested and confined in the Manhattan prison cell for possession of the child pornography material in August 2017. Schulte was named as the “main target” for the investigation, the prosecutors said, according to reports.

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Former CIA officer Joshua Adam Schulte Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Espionage and Child Pornography Crimes https://t.co/Fz19pIs2Vp

— NCSC (@NCSCgov) February 2, 2024

'Vault 7' secrets leak exposed US' overseas spying 

The 'Vault 7' secrets leak exposed the United States government’s overseas spying operations using the Apple and the Android smartphones and internet connected televisions that were turned into the listening devices for surveillance. Schulte is accused of creating a hacking tool to gain access into the confidential information pertaining to the US government at the US CIA headquarters of Langley, Virginia. The latter then transferred the stolen data and files to Wikileaks. The 35 year old has been jailed since 2018.

"We will likely never know the full extent of the damage, but I have no doubt it was massive," Judge Jesse M. Furman said while announcing the sentence, according to Associated Press. Assistant US Attorney David William Denton Jr. was quoted saying that Schulte was responsible for "the most damaging disclosures of classified information in American history.”

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Published February 2nd, 2024 at 18:46 IST

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