Ex-CIA Engineer Stole Classified Info
A New York jury has finally convicted ex-Central Intelligence Agency engineer, Joshua Schulte, on all nine charges associated with the single largest leak in the agency’s history.
The whole scandal began in 2017, when a treasure chest of CIA hacking tactics, as well as their exploits in hacking their targets’ computers, smartphones, and even smart TVs, was released to the Wikileaks Vault 7.
According to the agency spokesperson, this final verdict has only solidified America’s investment in its cyber capabilities and security. In addition to the continued security of the American people as well as their advantage over foreign adversaries
Furthermore, unauthorized disclosures, such as the Shulte and the Snowden leak, jeopardize US operations by providing highly classified information to enemies of the United States.
While being initially charged with possession of child pornography, Shulte has been jailed since 2018. The subject of a lengthy profile, The New Yorker’s article details the Operations Support Branch (OSB), where Shulte was employed.
The convicted hacker allegedly built hacking tools by remodeling prototypes of software that stole information for the target’s devices. Shulte’s own lapses in personal security, like storing passwords on his phone to access his encrypted stored files led to his arrest.
In 2020, the first attempt at prosecuting Shulte ended as a mistrial, in which the jury convicted him on contempt of court charges, and lying to FBI investigators. However, there was a mixed judgment on the rest of the accusations in the first trial.
Lax Security at CIA Agency
In the second trial, Shulte opted to represent himself against accusations of gathering, stealing, and transmitting classified information and obstruction of justice.
According to the Associated Press, prosecutors claim that Shulte’s felt ‘disrespected’ and ‘ignored’ after filing futile complaints about his work environment. He then retaliated by stealing and leaking the very same exploits he helped create.
In 2020, The Washington Post reported that an internal investigation by the CIA’s Wikileaks Task Force discovered security in the unit was extremely lax. Users had been sharing admin-level passwords, as well as a lack of historical data or the use of removable USB drives – even years after the prolific Snowden leaks.
Shulte unsuccessfully argued that the CIA was using him as a scapegoat for the government’s failure to protect the extremely dangerous hacking arsenal. He further claimed that there was no substantial motive established, and hundreds of people who could’ve blown the whistle had direct access to this information.
While Shulte has been convicted for one of the most nefarious forms of espionage on his own people, in America’s history, he has yet to be fully sentenced. However, it remains clear that America will protect its constitution at all costs.