A former CIA software engineer has been convicted in federal court of carrying out one of the largest data leaks in the spy agency’s history.
Joshua Schulte, 33, was found guilty by a jury in Manhattan of passing along classified information to whistle-blower website Wikileaks in 2013, according to multiple reports. The leak is colloquially known as Vault 7.
Schulte was reportedly convicted of eight espionage charges and one obstruction charge. An earlier trial ended in a hung jury in 2020, CNN reported.
US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams said the former employee began to “harbor resentment” against the CIA, and “covertly” worked to undermine the agency, “making some of our most critical intelligence tools known to the public – and therefore, our adversaries.”
“Moreover, Schulte was aware that the collateral damage of his retribution could pose an extraordinary threat to this nation if made public, rendering them essentially useless, having a devastating effect on our intelligence community by providing critical intelligence to those who wish to do us harm,” said Williams.
“Today, Schulte has been convicted for one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history,” he added.
Schulte began to become disgruntled against the agency beginning in 2015, and investigators alleged that tensions escalated when the CIA moved to hire contractors to build a cyber tool similar to one on which he was working, CNN reported.
Schulte reportedly quit the agency in November 2016 after handing off the data to Wikileaks and attempted to erase all digital traces of him accessing the computer system on which it had been stored. The following February Wikileaks began its Vault 7 releases.
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