OAN’s Brooke Mallory
6:25 PM – Thursday, February 1, 2024
Joshua Schulte received a 40-year prison term on Thursday after it was found that he orchestrated the largest leak of secret information in CIA history.
35-year-old Schulte gave WikiLeaks access to Vault 7, a cache of CIA cyberespionage tools, in what federal prosecutors described as “some of the most heinous, brazen violations of the Espionage Act in American history.”
Following a previous trial that resulted in a deadlocked jury, he was found guilty in July 2022 of improperly handling sensitive material and obstruction of justice.
The first of 26 disclosures of secret material from the pilfered CIA files was made public by WikiLeaks on March 7th, 2017.
According to The Associated Press, the trove of data showed that the CIA had hacked cellphones for “surveillance purposes,” and it exposed the agency’s attempts to convert internet-connected televisions into listening devices.
Schulte “placed directly at risk CIA personnel, programs, and assets; and jeopardized U.S. national security,” according to the CIA.
“The impact on the CIA was immediately catastrophic,” federal prosecutors stated. “The effect of the WikiLeaks Disclosure was a ‘digital Pearl Harbor. We were dead in the water.”
Prosecutors claimed that Schulte’s leak was not motivated by charity but rather by retaliation against his bosses, who had demoted him, transferred him, and chastised him for his actions.
Additionally, Schulte was found guilty in September of possessing child pornography.
“Today, Joshua Schulte was rightly punished not only for his betrayal of our country, but for his substantial possession of horrific child pornographic material,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said in a statement following sentencing. “The severity of his actions is evident, and the sentence imposed reflects the magnitude of the disturbing and harmful threat posed by his criminal conduct.”
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