Former CIA Engineer Convicted of Leaking ‘Vault 7’ Hacking Secrets to Wikileaks

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Joshua Schulte, a former programmer at the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has been found guilty of leaking a wealth of secret hacking tools and exploits called Vault 7 to WikiLeaks.

The 33-year-old engineer was charged in June 2018 with unauthorized disclosure of classified information and theft of classified material. Schulte too faces a separate trial on charges related to possession of child pornographic photos and videos, for which he was arrested on August 24, 2017.

American lawyer Damian Williams said in a statement that Schulte had been convicted of “one of the most brutal and damaging acts of espionage in American history,” adding that his actions had a “devastating effect on our intelligence community by providing critical intelligence to those who want to harm us.”

WikiLeaks would release the documents on March 7, 2017, calling it is the “largest ever publication of confidential documents about the agency.” This included an arsenal of “malware, viruses, Trojans, weaponized ‘zero-day’ exploits, malware remote control systems, and associated documentation.”

The files, dating from 2013 to 2016, also detail the agency’s ability to compromise cars, smart TVs, web browsers, and common desktop and mobile operating systems such as Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS as part of its overseas spy operations. to collect information.

At least 91 tools, developed by the Operations Support Branch (OSB) of the elite hacking unit, are said to have been used affected following the leak to the whistleblower platform.

The Associated Press reported that prosecutors argued that Schulte orchestrated the leak in retaliation for disrespecting and ignoring his complaints about the work environment. In his closing speech, he claimed that “hundreds of people had access” to the leaked files and that “hundreds of people could have stolen it”.

In a fascinating profile about Schulte last month, The New Yorker painted the photo of a disgruntled employee, who described him as “abrasive”, “stubborn” and “obstinate” during his time at the agency until November 2016 when he joined Bloomberg.

Schulte, who was in the Metropolitan Detention Center prior to the trial, has likened his incarceration conditions to a “torture cage” and as something “below those of impoverished individuals living in third world countries.” He is also said to have converted to Islam and fast for a month during the day during Ramadan.

“Joshua Adam Schulte was a CIA programmer with access to some of the country’s most valuable intelligence-gathering cyber tools used to fight terrorist organizations and other malevolent influences around the world,” Williams said.

“When Schulte began to hold a grudge against the CIA, he surreptitiously collected those tools and gave them to WikiLeaks, exposing some of our most critical intelligence tools to the public — and thus our adversaries.”