Joshua Adam Schulte has been convicted by the New York court for leaking confidential data to WikiLeaks. According to the judge, he knew well that his actions were a threat to national security. The penalty will be announced at a later date.
That reports the US Department of Justice in a press release.
This is how the data breach at the CIA came about
Joshua Adam Schulte, 33, worked as a software developer at the US intelligence agency CIA. In this position, he had access to the most valuable and secret tools in the fight against terrorism and organized crime. At one point, Schulte began to feel guilty and tried to make amends for his actions by handing over the bugs to WikiLeaks.
In 2017, a website called Vault 7 appeared where whistleblowers could upload classified documents. At that time, more than 8,000 documents appeared online. It found that the CIA could hack, eavesdrop and track desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets and smart TVs. In his role as a programmer, Schulte made an important contribution to the development of these hacking tools.
Suspect waged ‘information war’ against the government
According to the public prosecutor, Schulte was responsible for the data breach. His employer would ignore his complaints about the work environment. So he tried “to burn to the ground the work he had helped create,” the prosecutor said.
While Schulte was in custody awaiting trial, he continued his crimes. From prison, he tried to leak even more classified material. According to the prosecutor, he was waging an “information war” against the government and there was ample evidence that he had stolen a backup containing sensitive files. “He’s the one who broke into the system. He is the one who took the backup, which he then forwarded to WikiLeaks,” the prosecutor said.
Schulte, who is convinced the CIA wants to scapegoat him, defended himself in court by saying that “hundreds of people” had access to the leaked information. “The government’s case is riddled with reasonable doubt. There’s just no motive,” he argued.
‘Devastating effect’ of the intelligence community
Schulte, who conducted his own defence, received compliments from the judge about his defence. “Who knows, you might have a future as a criminal lawyer,” he said as the jury left the courtroom. But that didn’t do him much good. On Wednesday, the software developer was found guilty of leaking confidential information to WikiLeaks.
“As Schulte began to hold a grudge against the CIA, he secretly collected tools and provided them to WikiLeaks, exposing some of our most critical intelligence tools to the public, and thus our adversaries,” the Defense Department said in a statement.
The department says Schulte was aware of “the devastating effect” on the intelligence community he caused by sharing confidential information with WikiLeaks. The ministry is relieved that the former CIA software developer has been convicted of “the most shameless and harmful acts of espionage in American history”.
The court has not yet determined the sentence. Schulte faces several decades in prison. It is unknown when the judge will issue his verdict.
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