Article Image

IPFS News Link • Whistleblowers

Ex-CIA Computer Engineer Who Leaked Secrets to WikiLeaks Gets 40 Years in Prison

•, by JW Williams

He was convicted of the so-called Vault 7 leak, and also of possessing child sexual abuse images, in two separate trials overseen by the same judge in 2022 and 2023.

The Vault 7 leak revealed how the CIA hacked Apple and Android smartphones in overseas spying operations, and efforts to turn internet-connected televisions into listening devices. Prior to his arrest, Schulte had helped create the hacking tools as a coder at the CIA's headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The leak was an enormous embarrassment to the CIA that cost the agency hundreds of millions of dollars.

Prosecutors had asked Judge Furman to impose a life sentence, but the judge declined to do so, saying that he'd not seen proof that Schulte's leak of government secrets — though devastating to national security — directly led to someone being killed.

The US Attorney's office claimed that Schulte had over 2,400 images and videos of "disturbing and horrific" sex abuse images of children that government investigators said were hidden under layers of encryption on a personal computer. Schulte was accused of continuing to view the pornography in prison.

Schulte said that he had been victimized by people who used his servers to store child pornography without his knowledge or consent. Wikipedia reported that a photo was allegedly found on his phone of his neighbor who was unconscious and nude, and it showed Schulte's hands touching her. She said that she had passed out, did not know what happened and that the photo was not consensual.