Ex-CIA software engineer who leaked to WikiLeaks sentenced to 40 years | Crime News

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Joshua Schulte was found guilty of providing classified material in the so-called Vault 7 leak.

A former CIA software engineer has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for leaking classified information and possessing child sexual abuse material.

Joshua Schulte, 35, was found guilty in 2022 of four counts each of espionage and computer surveillance and one count of lying to FBI agents after he provided classified material to the explosives group WikiLeaks.

Schulte was also convicted of contempt of court and making false statements in 2020, and possession of child abuse material last year.

Most of the sentence announced Thursday was imposed as a result of the so-called Vault 7 leak, which revealed embarrassing details of the CIA’s spying overseas.

The leak, which the CIA called a “digital Pearl Harbour”, showed how US spies were hacking Apple and Android smartphones and trying to turn internet-connected televisions into listening devices.

The security breach prompted US officials to plan for an “all-out war” against Wikileaks, including considering the kidnapping or assassination of its founder Julian Assange, Yahoo News said, citing anonymous officials.

Assange was indicted on treason charges in 2019 – a move that prompted criticism from press freedom groups – and is currently in Britain fighting extradition to the US.

Judge Jesse M Furman said the extent of the damage caused by Schulte would not be known for certain “but I have no doubt it was terrible”.

Furman said Schulte had also continued to commit crimes while in prison by attempting to release more classified material and by creating a hidden file on his computer that contained images of child sexual abuse.

US Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement that Schulte had committed some of the “most serious and heinous espionage crimes in American history”.

“He caused unprecedented damage to our national security in his attempted retaliation against the CIA for its response to Schulte’s security breaches while he was working there,” Williams said.

Speaking to the court before his sentencing, Schulte complained about the harsh conditions he endured in custody, including being denied hot water and being subjected to constant noise and artificial light. .

Schulte also said it was unfair for prosecutors to seek a life sentence because they had previously offered a plea deal that would have given him a 10-year prison sentence.

“This is not justice that the government is looking for, but revenge,” he said.

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