A federal jury in New York has convicted a former CIA engineer of the biggest theft of classified data in the history of the agency. Joshua Schulte has been convicted on all counts by the federal court on Wednesday.
He had assisted the agency in creating some of the most secretive and sensitive hacking tools. The computer programmer was arrested in 2017 following WikiLeaks’ disclosure of secret documents which suggested that the CIA was involved in penetrating the high-profile computer networks of governments and terrorists.
Schulte Convicted On Nine Counts
Schulte has been convicted on nine counts that included illegally gathering and transmitting national defense information.
In November 2016, Schulte left the spy agency but months after in March 2017, Wikileaks published Vault 7 leaks that showed the CIA was running two secret programs and Schulte was linked to those.
Schulte Transferred Cyber Tools, Source Code to WikiLeaks
Officials claimed that Schulte became furious learning that the agency was in plans to hire another contractor for creating a tool to one Schulte was making.
According to the court records, investigators claimed that Schulte had transferred cyber tools and source code to WikiLeaks after stealing them. The engineer had also planned to erase traces of him accessing the system and tried to cover his tracks, according to the prosecutors.
Damian Williams, the United States attorney in Manhattan, where the trial was held, hailed the verdict. Mr. Schulte has been convicted of “one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history,” Mr Williams said in a statement, according to The New York Times.
Those acts, Mr Williams added, were driven by a grudge against the CIA so strong that it led Mr. Schulte to make “some of our most critical intelligence tools known to the public and, therefore, our adversaries”, according to the report.