Ex-CIA officer Joshua Adam Schulte sent to prison for “committing some of the most brazen, heinous crimes of espionage in American history.”
The 35-year-old Schulte was sentenced to 40 years in prison for crimes of espionage, computer hacking, contempt of court, and making false statements to the FBI.
Schulte was employed by the CIA as a software developer in the Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI) from 2012 to 2016.
“Mr. Schulte severely harmed U.S. national security and directly risked the lives of CIA personnel, persisting in his efforts even after his arrest,” Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, said in a statement.
In March 2016, Schulte was moved within branches of CCI as a result of personnel disputes between Schulte and another developer. Following that transfer, in April 2016, Schulte abused his administrator powers to grant himself administrator privileges over a development project from which he had been removed as a result of the branch change. Schulte’s abuse of administrator privileges was detected, and CCI leadership directed that administrator privileges would immediately be transferred from developers, including Schulte, to another division. Schulte was also given a warning about self-granting administrator privileges that had previously been revoked.
Schulte had, however, secretly opened an administrator session on one of the servers before his privileges were removed. On April 20, 2016, after other developers had left the CCI office, Schulte used his secret server administrator session to execute a series of cyber-maneuvers on the CIA network to restore his revoked privileges, break in to the backups, steal copies of the entire CCI tool development archives (the Stolen CIA Files), revert the network back to its prior state, and delete hundreds of log files in an attempt to cover his tracks. Schulte’s theft of the Stolen CIA Files is the largest data breach in CIA history.
From his home computer, Schulte then transmitted the Stolen CIA Files to WikiLeaks, using anonymizing tools recommended by WikiLeaks to potential leakers, such as the Tails operating system and the…