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Ex-CIA engineer charged with largest leak of CIA intel ever to WikiLeaks

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a former officer for the CIA, was indicted on espionage charges this week. (CIA)
June 19, 2018

A grand jury has indicted a former CIA computer engineer on 13 counts of stealing and leaking classified information to WikiLeaks more than ten months after his initial arrest.

The charges include illegally gathering classified information, damaging CIA computers and lying to investigators, among other offenses, Politico reported. The WikiLeaks breach was the largest CIA breach in history.

Joshua Schulte was originally facing child pornography charges in federal court in New York last year after investigators found more than 10,000 files on a server he created in 2009 while in college.

The new indictment now positions Schulte as the prime leaker who contributed to WikiLeaks’ release of a collection of CIA documents known as “Vault 7.”

Prosecutors allege that Schulte leaked documents and information pertaining to the CIA’s arsenal of hacking tools, which included malware, viruses, weaponized “zero day” exploits and remote control systems.

The leaked documents, which were dated from 2013 to 2016, also detailed the capabilities of the CIA to perform electronic surveillance and cyber warfare.

The CIA was revealed to have the ability to compromise cars, smart TVs, web browsers and the operating systems of most smartphones and computers.

In a Justice Department press release, Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney, Jr. said that Shulte’s actions betrayed the nation and endangered the country.

“As alleged, Schulte utterly betrayed this nation and downright violated his victims. As an employee of the CIA, Schulte took an oath to protect this country, but he blatantly endangered it by the transmission of Classified Information,” he said.

The Justice Department’s statement lists each of the charges Shultle will face, with maximum penalties ranging between five and 20 years in prison for each offense. Shulte will be formally arraigned on Wednesday.

Shulte’s indictment makes him the fourth individual facing charges related to leaking classified information since President Trump took office.

An NSA contractor last June was arrested on charges of leaking a top-secret report to the online publication The Intercept.

In March, an FBI agent was also charged with leaking sensitive information to The Intercept.

And earlier this month, James Wolfe, the head of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, was indicted on three felony counts of lying during an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information.

The President has consistently expressed his desire to crack down on leakers, particularly in the White House, where private conversations and sensitive information regularly make it to the press.

Trump more recently has grown increasingly critical of the FBI in particular, accusing former director James Comey of leaking classified information that may have triggered special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia.

“So, the Democrats make up a phony crime, Collusion with the Russians, pay a fortune to make the crime sound real, illegally leak (Comey) classified information so that a Special Councel will be appointed, and then Collude to make this pile of garbage take on life in Fake News,” Trump tweeted earlier this month.