New York – February 2, 2024
Former CIA computer engineer “Joshua Schulte” has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for leaking classified information to WikiLeaks. The 35-year-old, convicted in 2022 on charges including the illegal transmission of national defense information, played a pivotal role in the release of classified documents known as “Vault 7 in 2017.” The disclosures, labeled as causing “catastrophic” damage to national security, prompted Judge “Jesse M. Furman” to describe Schulte’s actions as a “digital Pearl Harbor.”
During the sentencing, “Schulte,” who maintained his innocence, complained about deplorable jail conditions and accused prosecutors of bullying. Despite requests for leniency from his defense, federal prosecutors emphasized the unprecedented scope and harm to national security caused by Schulte’s actions. In addition to espionage charges, he was convicted of receiving and transporting child pornography, further cementing the severity of his crimes. Schulte’s 2017 arrest on child pornography charges eventually led to his identification as the primary suspect in the WikiLeaks disclosure.
Damian Williams, the “U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York,” stated that Schulte’s betrayal of his country constituted “some of the most brazen, heinous crimes of espionage in American history.” Schulte will serve 40 years behind bars, marking the conclusion of a legal saga that provided insight into the CIA’s internal dynamics and the consequences of compromising national security.