CIA Engineer Sentenced 40-Year for Disclosing Classified Document


In the United States of America, a former software engineer working with an agency named as Central Intelligence Agency has been sentenced to 40 years of life in prison. The Southern District of New York (SDNY) punished him because of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks. Another reason for being punished by the court is to possess child pornographic material.

The criminal who was punished known as Joshua Adam Schulte. He was 35 years old. Generally, he was charged in 2018 in the month of June. In the month of July, year 2022, the jurisdiction found him guilty.  And in 2023, on 13 September, he was sent down for attempting a crime, involving obtaining, possessing, and transmitting child pornography. He was not only sentenced to complete the prison term but also to a lifetime of observed release.

As per the opinion of the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ), "Schulte's robbery is the biggest data breach in the history of the CIA, and his leakage of that stolen information to WikiLeaks is one of the largest illegal disclosures of classified data in the entire history of the United States.." 

The confidential data that Adam shared involved a portion of hacking tools. All of these tools were further entitled Vault 7 and Vault 8. WikiLeaks published it in year 2019, in March month after a specific period of eight months.

Adam was serving as a software developer in the Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI) from 2012-2016. There, he was working on tools related to aggressive cyber operations. CIA conducted all of these operations. Later on, in year 2016 Adam abused all of his administrator rights to rob the copies related to the complete CCI tool development archives.

The information that Adam leaked involved the methods that are helpful in collecting foreign intelligence against adversaries of America. It also included an arsenal involving cyber weapons and zero-day exploits. This way, it lets him compromise with cars, smart TVs, desktops, web browsers, and mobile operating systems.

In the opinion of the prosecutors, after some time the transmit was described  as a "digital Pearl Harbor.” It has two inverse impacts including-

  • It costs hundreds of millions of dollars to the agency
  • Harm to the national security of the U.S.
  • Risk to the lives of CIA personnel

Additionally, Adam was also blamed for telling a lie to the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States. Actually, he was continuously lying about his involvement, along with spreading rumors related to the way to acquire information from the computers of the central intelligence agency.

In March 2017, in the wake of the search for his apartment in New York, Adam excavated a stored material related to child sexual abuse. It encompasses nearly 3400 images as well as videos. All of the material was collected when he was employed with the CIA from the Russian websites and the dark web.

In the duration of detention pending trial, it was found that he was using contraband cell phones in jail. He was doing so to create anonymous & encrypted emails as well as social media accounts. Later on, he tried to leak the secured discovery materials to WikiLeaks and also publish classified pieces of information related to CIA cyber techniques and tools.

In the words of DoJ, the main goal of Adam was to quote a journal that he was already maintaining. The main purpose of doing this terminate diplomatic relationships, culminate embassies, and terminate the U.S. occupation across the globe.

Finally, per the point of view of James Smith the FBI Assistant Director in Charge, "Joshua Schulte was punished not merely for his deception of our nation but also for his considerable possession of dreadful child pornographic material. 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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