Former CIA Engineer Found Guilty of Leaking Hacking Tools and Exploits

The former CIA employee reportedly harbored resentment toward the agency.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

July 15, 2022

2 Min Read

A federal court has convicted a former CIA engineer on all counts for leaking classified hacking tools and exploits dubbed “Vault 7” to WikiLeaks.

Joshua Schulte was accused of handing over reams of classified data to WikiLeaks in 2016. The court convicted him of illegally gathering and transmitting national defense information. It also found him guilty of obstructing a criminal investigation and grand jury proceeding, among other charges.

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.

Valuable Intelligence-Gathering Cyber Tools

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said Schulte was a CIA programmer. He had access to some of the country’s most valuable intelligence-gathering cyber tools. The CIA used the tools to battle terrorist organizations and other malign influences around the globe.

“When Schulte began to harbor resentment toward the CIA, he covertly collected those tools and provided them to WikiLeaks, making some of our most critical intelligence tools known to the public — and therefore, our adversaries,” he said.

Schulte knew his actions could pose an extraordinary threat to this nation if made public, Williams said. That rendered the tools “essentially useless.” It also provided “critical intelligence to those who wish to do us harm.”

The federal court convicted Schulte for “one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history,” he said.


Keeper Security’s Darren Guccione

Darren Guccione is CEO and co-founder of Keeper Security.

“The recent conviction of a former CIA software engineer points to the government’s need to protect against both insider and external threats,” he said. “Comprehensive visibility, security and control over the entire organization’s infrastructure is essential. A unified cybersecurity platform is imperative, especially in mission-critical operations that preserve national security.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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