The U.S. Department of Justice announced charges Monday against a former CIA employee accused of leaking secret agency hacking tools.
Joshua Adam Schulte charged with the unauthorized disclosure of classified information and other offenses relating to the theft of classified material from the CIA https://t.co/6m2aDCuQOH
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) June 18, 2018
In the 13-count superseding indictment, 29-year-old Joshua Adam Schulte, who worked for the CIA’s Engineering Development Group, is said to have stolen classified national defense data and provided it to “an organization that purports to publicly disseminate classified, sensitive, and confidential information.”
WikiLeaks, widely believed to be the unnamed organization, began publishing the information under the title “Vault 7” last year.
Prosecutors say Schulte began taking the data in March 2016, altering and deleting computer logs along the way in an attempt to hide his tracks.
The ex-CIA engineer, who had long been a suspect, had his home raided in August 2017 where investigators say they discovered child pornography during a search of his personal computer.
Prosecutors allege Schulte’s computer contained more than 10,000 images and videos protected by three layers of passwords.
“During the course of this investigation, federal agents also discovered alleged child pornography in Schulte’s New York City residence,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said. “We and our law enforcement partners are committed to protecting national security information and ensuring that those trusted to handle it honor their important responsibilities. Unlawful disclosure of classified intelligence can pose a grave threat to our national security, potentially endangering the safety of Americans.”
WikiLeaks responded to the news Monday by suggesting the government’s case against Schulte was weak.
DoJ indicts CIA employee, J. Schulte, for passing info to “organization-1”, which US press say is @WikiLeaks. Perhaps reflecting weakness of CIA case, also charged for “criminal copyright infringement” for sharing TV shows, child porn & lying to FBI. https://t.co/OKwo4iTpME
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) June 18, 2018
The charges against Schulte carry a statutory maximum penalty of 135 years in prison. Schulte pled not guilty to the child pornography charges and has denied any involvement in the Vault 7 leaks.