Former CIA Engineer Convicted For WikiLeaks Data Breach

A former CIA software engineer, Joshua Schulte, who allegedly leaked highly classified internal documents to WikiLeaks, has been convicted in a New York court.

The Vault 7 theft, which revealed many critical CIA intelligence tools to the public, raised suspicions about the agency’s dark role in spying on its targets.

These leaks are now labeled as the worst acts of data breaches in the history of the United States.

CIA Former Engineer Convicted For Historic Data Leak

According to a statement released by Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York where the trial was held, the former engineer had access to the most important information of the agency.

This was used to combat terrorist organizations around the globe. Williams further stated that Schulte started turning against the CIA, after which he made all the highly confidential intelligence tools public.

Once these tools were released to American adversaries, they were made useless, since the US could not use them any further for gathering and maintaining intelligence, the attorney added.

However, according to Schulte, the CIA made him a scapegoat to save its own face from the most embarrassing data release in the history of the country.

He also said “hundreds of people” had the access to the leaked information, but the CIA singled him out, adding that he had no motive to leak any information.

Though the government believed the engineer wanted to leak the data, as he felt disrespected when the CIA ignored his continuous complaints regarding the work environment.

So, he wanted to “burn to the ground” all the systems he developed, the government noted.

Even when he was arrested, Schulte still tried to leak more classified data, as he continued his “information war” against the US government.

When the jury left the court for deliberation, the judge appreciated Schulte, who defended himself during the trial, in his closing arguments.

According to the judge, the engineer “impressively” defended himself, so he may build his future as a defense lawyer.

CIA Hacked Almost Every Electronic Gadget For Spying

The Vault 7 data leak revealed the CIA turned many internet-connected televisions into listening devices to spy on potential terrorists.

Similarly, the agency also hacked overseas smartphones to extract crucial data in its overseas missions. Schulte was one of the programmers who worked in coding these hacking tools.

In March 2017, the investigation against Schulte started after the leaked documents of the CIA revealed the agency hacked multiple devices.

The CIA hacked computers, mobile phones, Skype calling services, PDF documents, Wi-Fi connections, and famous antivirus programs that were used by millions of people to protect their computer devices.

After the leak of the documents, the FBI raided Schulte’s apartment and stopped him from flying to Mexico on vacation.

The high-profile leak ignited a debate about whether the CIA exceeded its spying powers, as WikiLeaks demanded a public debate to hold the CIA accountable.

This article appeared in TheDailyBeat and has been published here with permission.