Former CIA officer sentenced to 40 years for leaking classified hacking tools to Wikileaks

Prosecutors argued that in 2016, stolen information was shared with Wikileaks.
08 February 2024
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Former CIA officer, Joshua Schulte, has received a 40-year prison sentence for leaking classified hacking tools to Wikileaks.

Schulte leaked the CIA's "Vault 7" tools, which allow intelligence officers to hack smartphones and use them for surveillance purposes. Prosecutors consider this leak to be one of the most audacious in US history.

Schulte shared naerly 9,000 documents with Wikileaks in 2017, marking the largest data breach in the CIA's history. Despite denying the allegations, he was convicted on multiple counts in three federal trials between 2020 and 2023.

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

Evidence presented during the trial revealed that Schulte worked as a software developer in the Center for Cyber Intelligence, an organisation responsible for cyber espionage activities.

Prosecutors argued that in 2016, he transmitted the stolen information to Wikileaks and subsequently lied to FBI agents about his involvement in the leak. Schulte, when given the opportunity to speak, primarily expressed concerns about the harsh conditions at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn.

However, he also claimed that prosecutors had previously offered him a plea deal with a 10-year prison sentence, which he rejected due to the requirement to waive his right to appeal. He characterised the government's pursuit of a life sentence as an act of vengeance rather than justice.

- CyberBeat


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