Former CIA whiz convicted for 'largest data theft' in agency's history that saw THOUSANDS of classified documents leaked | The Sun

A FORMER CIA employee was convicted of stealing confidential data and documents from the US intelligence agency.

On Wednesday, Joshua Schulte, 33, was convicted of carrying out the largest theft of classified data in the CIA's history.

The former CIA employee was charged with nine counts, including illegally gathering and transmitting national defense information and obstructing a criminal investigation and grand jury proceeding.

Damian Williams, the United States attorney in Manhattan condemned Schulte's theft as "one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history."

Williams added that Schulte was motivated by a strong grudge against the CIA.

Schulte defended himself in court, arguing that he was being made a scapegoat for the CIA’s failings, per the New York Times.

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The leaked information and documents Schulte stole were famously handed over to WikiLeaks in 2016.

Months later, Schulte was arrested in 2017 after Wikileaks started publishing the stolen material.

Schulte first appeared at trial in 2020, where the jury failed to agree on eight of the 10 charges he was facing, per Silicon Angle.

However, the jury did find Schulte guilty of contempt of court and making false statements to the FBI.

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Schulte worked at the CIA as a computer engineer within the Center for Cyber Intelligence.

Then around 2015, Schulte began facing issues with management and a co-worker at the CIA, according to CNN.

At some point after that, he began to create cyber tools that could quietly grab data from computers.

"When Schulte began to harbor resentment toward the CIA, he covertly collected those tools and provided them to WikiLeaks, making some of our most critical intelligence tools known to the public – and therefore, our adversaries," Williams said.

The data

The stolen trove of data, dubbed "Year Zero" by Wikileaks, included 8,761 documents and files.

This classified information was obtained from the high-security CIA Center for Cyber Intelligence division.

Contained within the documents were details of malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized zero-day exploits, and remote control systems used by the US intelligence agency.

"Schulte was aware that the collateral damage of his retribution could pose an extraordinary threat to this nation if made public, rendering them essentially useless, having a devastating effect on our intelligence community by providing critical intelligence to those who wish to do us harm," Williams added Wednesday.

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Schulte is currently facing a maximum combined sentence of up to 80 years in prison for the nine guilty counts.

He is also still awaiting a federal trial for alleged possession of more than 10,000 child pornography images that federal agents said they found on electronic devices in his home.

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