By Michael Hernandez
A former CIA employee was charged Monday with giving Wikileaks sensitive hacking tools developed by the agency to spy on foreign governments.
Joshua Adam Schulte, 29, is charged in a 13-count indictment that includes illegally obtaining and disseminating classified U.S. government information to Wikileaks and lying to federal investigators.
Schulte is alleged to have been the source of the "Vault 7" leak of the agency's tools it developed to compromise a wide array of electronic devices, including smart TVs, as well as Apple's iOS and Google's Android mobile operating systems.
Wikileaks began disseminating the information in March 2017, sparking the CIA's ire and raising questions about the source of the information.
Prosecutors are alleging that Schulte stole the information in 2016 when he deleted records of his activities and locked others out of the CIA computer system the files were on before transmitting the information to the radical transparency group.
He is also charged with copyright infringement.
"As alleged, Schulte utterly betrayed this nation and downright violated his victims," William F. Sweeney, Jr., the assistant director-in-charge of the FBI's New York field office, said in a statement. "As an employee of the CIA, Schulte took an oath to protect this country, but he blatantly endangered it by the transmission of Classified Information."
The indictment does not cite Wikileaks by name, mentioning only an “Organization-1.” But the timeline of the leaks mentioned in court documents as well as the type of information that was disseminated matches the Vault 7 leak.
Schulte was arrested on Aug. 24, 2017 and later charged with receiving, possessing and transporting child pornography. He has pled not guilty and is currently in custody.
If convicted of all charges he faces, including the earlier child pornography counts, he could face up to 135 years behind bars.
Wikileaks responded to the indictment, saying on Twitter: "Perhaps reflecting weakness of CIA case, also charged for 'criminal copyright infringement' for sharing TV shows, child porn & lying to FBI."Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.