A former CIA computer engineer has been indicted on charges he masterminded what appears to be the largest leak of classified information in the spy agency’s history.
Joshua Schulte, 29, was charged in a new grand jury indictment with providing WikiLeaks with a massive trove of U.S. government hacking tools that the online publisher posted in March 2017, the Justice Department announced on Monday.
Schulte was previously facing child pornography charges in federal court in New York, but the indictment broadens the case to accuse him of illegally gathering classified information, damaging CIA computers, lying to investigators and numerous other offenses.
In January, attorneys involved in the child porn case revealed in court that Schulte was the target of a major investigation into WikiLeaks’ release of a CIA collection known as “Vault 7.”
The Justice Department’s news release announcing Schulte’s indictment does not mention WikiLeaks by name, signaling that it has not been charged in the case. There was no mention of any other individuals being charged.
Attorneys for Schulte did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The new charges make Schulte the fourth individual to face charges related to classified leaks since President Donald Trump took office and vowed a crackdown on leaks.
Last June, a National Security Agency contractor, Reality Winner, was arrested on charges of leaking to the online publication The Intercept a top secret report on the techniques that Russian government agents allegedly used to target computers of state election officials. She has pleaded not guilty and has been held without bail. Her trial is set for October.
In March, an FBI agent based in Minneapolis, Terry Albury, was charged with a leak to The Intercept of the FBI’s procedures for handling informants. He was also accused of retaining classified information at his home. He pleaded guilty to both charges and is free awaiting sentencing.
Earlier this month, the longtime head of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee, James Wolfe, was indicted on three felony counts of lying during the course of an FBI investigation into unauthorized disclosures of classified information. He was not charged with any leaks, but the indictment contends that he provided confidential committee information to at least one reporter. Wolfe pleaded not guilty to the charges last week. No trial date has been set.
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