Joshua Schulte: Former CIA hacker convicted of Vault 7 data leak


Joshua Schulte was convicted of sending the CIA’s “Vault 7” cyber-warfare tools to the whistle-blowing platform. He had denied the allegations.

The 2017 leak of some 8,761 documents revealed how intelligence officers hacked smartphones overseas and turned them into listening devices.

Prosecutors said the leak was one of the most “brazen” in US history.

Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Mr Schulte’s actions had “a devastating effect on our intelligence community by providing critical intelligence to those who wish to do us harm”.

Mr Schulte, who represented himself at the trial in Manhattan federal court, now faces decades in prison. He also faces a separate trial on charges of possessing images and videos of child abuse, to which he has pleaded not guilty.

After joining the CIA in 2010, Mr Schulte soon achieved the organisation’s highest security clearance. He went on to work at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, designing a suite of programmes used to hack computers, iPhones and Android phones and even smart TVs.

Prosecutors alleged in 2016 that he transmitted the stolen information to Wikileaks and then lied to FBI agents about his role in the leak.

They added that he was seemingly motivated by anger over a workplace dispute in which his employer ignored his complaints. The software engineer had been struggling to meet deadlines and Assistant US Attorney Michael Lockard said one of his projects was so far behind schedule that he had earned the nickname “Drifting Deadline”.

The prosecutors said he wanted to punish those he perceived to have wronged him and said in “carrying out that revenge, he caused enormous damage to this country’s national security”.

But Mr Schulte said the government had no evidence that he was motivated by revenge and called the argument “pure fantasy”. In his closing argument, he claimed that “hundreds of people had access” to the leaked files and that “hundreds of people could have stolen it”.

“The government’s case is riddled with reasonable doubt,” he added.


Source: Joshua Schulte: Former CIA hacker convicted of ‘brazen’ data leak – BBC News

Robin Edgar

Organisational Structures | Technology and Science | Military, IT and Lifestyle consultancy | Social, Broadcast & Cross Media | Flying aircraft