A former CIA Software Engineer Convicted On Eight Counts Of Espionage

CIA espionage

“Today, Schulte has been convicted for one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history.” – US Attorney Damian Williams.

A former CIA software engineer was convicted of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks in one of the biggest thefts in the history of the CIA.

Jurors in Manhattan federal court convicted Joshua Schulte, 33, on eight espionage charges and one obstruction charge over the so-called Vault 7 leak.

An earlier trial ended in a March 2020 mistrial because jurors were deadlocked on the main counts.

Schulte, who represented himself in court, was convicted of espionage for leaked materials that undermined U.S. efforts to battle “terrorist organizations and other malign influences” worldwide.

Schulte claimed in court that he was framed for the leak because management didn’t like him. The government argued that Schulte’s issues with management were his reason for leaking the classified information.

The leaked materials concerned software tools the Central Intelligence Agency used to surveil people outside the United States through such means as compromising smartphones and internet-connected TVs.

WikiLeaks began publishing the leaked materials in March 2017, and Schulte was arrested in August 2017 on related charges. Schulte has been jailed since his bail was revoked four months later. His conviction could land him more than 30 years in prison.

Last month Britain agreed to extradite Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, to the United States. He is facing multiple felony counts for publishing classified military documents in 2010.

For more on this story, please consider these sources:

  1. A former CIA engineer is convicted in a massive theft of secrets released by WikiLeaks – NPR
  2. Ex-CIA engineer convicted of biggest theft of secret information in agency’s history – Fox News
  3. Former CIA employee convicted for carrying out largest data leak in agency’s history – CNN
  4. Ex-CIA engineer convicted in massive theft of secret info – KSL


John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.