Ex-CIA Engineer Set to Go on Trial for Massive Leak

Published: February 4, 2020  Updated: February 4, 2020 at 7:28 am EST

Manhattan federal prosecutors are poised to open their case Tuesday in the trial of a former software engineer for the Central Intelligence Agency who is charged with handing over a trove of classified information on the spy agency’s hacking operations to WikiLeaks.

In 2017, WikiLeaks released more than 8,000 pages of secret materials-which the antisecrecy organization called “Vault 7”-detailing the CIA’s cyberespionage arsenal, including the agency’s playbook for hacking smartphones, computer operating systems, messaging applications and internet-connected televisions. It was one of the largest breaches in the agency’s history.

Federal prosecutors say the defendant, Joshua Schulte, stole the documents when he worked in a CIA unit that designed the hacking tools.

Mr. Schulte, 31 years old, faces 11 criminal counts, including illegal gathering and transmission of national defense information-charges that derive from the Espionage Act, a statute that has been applied in other WikiLeaks cases. Some of the charges relate to Mr. Schulte’s alleged misconduct and obstruction following his 2017 arrest-prosecutors say he lied to law enforcement and disobeyed court orders.

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