Ex-CIA programmer gets 40 years for passing spy secrets to WikiLeaks in ‘most damaging disclosures of classified information in American history’

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A erstwhile CIA package technologist was sentenced to 40 years successful situation connected Thursday aft his convictions for what nan authorities described arsenic nan biggest theft of classified accusation successful CIA history and for possession of kid intersexual maltreatment images and videos.

The bulk of nan condemnation imposed connected Joshua Schulte, 35, successful Manhattan national tribunal came for an embarrassing nationalist merchandise of a trove of CIA secrets by WikiLeaks successful 2017. He has been jailed since 2018.

“We will apt ne'er cognize nan afloat grade of nan damage, but I person nary uncertainty it was massive,” Judge Jesse M. Furman said arsenic he announced nan sentence.

The so-called Vault 7 leak revealed really nan CIA hacked Apple and Android smartphones successful overseas spying operations, and efforts to move internet-connected televisions into listening devices. Prior to his arrest, Schulte had helped create nan hacking devices arsenic a coder astatine nan agency’s office successful Langley, Virginia.

In requesting a life sentence, Assistant U.S. Attorney David William Denton Jr. said Schulte was responsible for “the astir damaging disclosures of classified accusation successful American history.”

Given a chance to speak, Schulte complained mostly astir harsh conditions astatine nan Metropolitan Detention Center successful Brooklyn, calling his cell, “My torture cage.”

But he besides claimed that prosecutors had erstwhile offered him a plea woody that would person called for a 10-year situation condemnation and that it was unfair of them to now activity a life term. He said he objected to nan woody because he would person been required to relinquish his correct to appeal.

“This is not justness nan authorities seeks, but vengeance,” Schulte said.

Immediately afterward, nan judge criticized immoderate of Schulte’s half-hour of remarks, saying he was “blown away” by Schulte’s “complete deficiency aliases remorse and acceptance of responsibility.”

The judge said Schulte was “not driven by immoderate consciousness of altruism,” but alternatively was “motivated by anger, spite and perceived grievance” against others astatine nan agency who he believed had ignored his complaints astir nan activity environment.

Furman said Schulte continued his crimes from down bars by trying to leak much classified materials and by creating a hidden record connected his machine that contained 2,400 images of kid intersexual maltreatment that he continued to position from jail.

During a two-hour proceeding, Furman noted a one-page missive nan authorities had forwarded from CIA Deputy Director David S. Cohen, who described Schulte’s crimes arsenic causing “exceptionally sedate harm to U.S. nationalist information and nan CIA.”

He added: “His actions costs nan Agency hundreds of millions of dollars; degraded its expertise to cod overseas intelligence against America’s adversaries; placed straight astatine consequence CIA personnel, programs, and assets; and jeopardized U.S. nationalist information by degrading nan CIA’s expertise to behaviour its mission. In short, Mr. Schulte’s actions inflicted dense costs connected nan United States.”

A mistrial was declared astatine Schulte’s original 2020 proceedings aft jurors deadlocked connected nan astir superior counts, including forbidden gathering and transmission of nationalist defense information. He was convicted astatine a July 2022 proceedings of charges successful relationship pinch nan classified leak.

Last fall, he was convicted successful nan lawsuit complete nan kid intersexual maltreatment images, which originated erstwhile a machine that Schulte possessed aft he near nan CIA and moved to New York from Virginia was recovered to incorporate nan images and videos that he had downloaded from nan net from 2009 to March 2017.

The judge described that proceedings arsenic “a bloodbath” successful which “Mr. Schulte had nary defense.”

Yet, Furman noted, Schulte was incapable to definitive remorse for those crimes either.

Of nan 40 twelvemonth sentence, Furman said nan bulk of it was for nan CIA theft while six years and 8 months of it were for nan convictions complete nan kid intersexual maltreatment materials.

In a connection afterward, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Schulte “betrayed his state by committing immoderate of nan astir brazen, heinous crimes of espionage successful American history.”

“When nan FBI caught him,” Williams continued,” Schulte doubled down and tried to origin moreover much harm to this federation by waging what he picture arsenic an ‘information’ war’ of publishing apical concealed accusation from down bars.”

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