Former CIA technician Joshua Schulte, who leaked documents confirming the CIA can spy on people through their “smart” appliances, along with a mind-boggling array of other sophisticated hacking tools, “smuggled contraband cellphones into the [Metropolitan Correctional Center], created encrypted email accounts and secret social media accounts, and drafted misleading ‘articles’ for public dissemination that were not only fraught with misinformation but also contained classified information,” a US government memorandum filed Monday claims. The memo adds that Schulte has “gone to extraordinary lengths… to try to blackmail the Government into releasing him by disclosing and threatening to disclose more classified information.”
Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman filed to block Schulte’s request to end the extreme restrictions – including solitary confinement – placed on him in prison, arguing Schulte has only himself to blame for the harsh measures, which forbid contact with anyone outside his immediate family and lawyer.
Schulte, the memo claims, used contraband phones and deputized his fellow prisoners and extended family members in a pattern of “willful and illegal acts that culminated in his declaration of an ‘information war’ against the United States,” continuing to leak classified material to reporters through this ad-hoc information network and threatening to go much, much bigger.
“I will look to breakup diplomatic relationships, close embassies, and US occupation around the world & finally reverse US jingoism,” Schulte allegedly wrote in a journal found in his cell, demanding “$50 billion in restitution” and the prosecution of “the criminals who lied to the judge and presented this BS case.”
Berman argues that if the restrictions are lifted, Schulte will resume his “information war,” and denies the measures violate his First Amendment rights. “The Court need not speculate whether Schulte would disclose classified information illegally from the MCC because he already has,” Berman states.
Schulte was arrested in August 2017 and has been in jail since December 2017, when his bail was revoked after he used the internet in what prosecutors say was a violation of his conditional release. He faces 13 counts of “theft of classified defense information,” along with charges of spreading malware, lying to the FBI, obstructing justice, copyright infringement, and child pornography – though he claims the government planted the latter on his computer – and could face as many as 135 years in prison.
The Vault7 leak was the “largest loss of confidential material in US history,” according to the government, and the documents’ publication in March 2017 triggered an agency-wide manhunt. The leaked documents describe a mind-boggling array of hacking tools the CIA has at its disposal, allowing the agency to eavesdrop on any smart device (including televisions and other home appliances), spoof online traffic, and eavesdrop, hijack, and otherwise interfere with all operating systems and web browsers.
Some CIA phone hacking tools made their way into the wild back in 2017. It didn't take long for the DOJ to find a suspect to charge. Joshua Schulte, a former NSA and CIA operative, was hit with a long list of charges, including espionage, child porn possession, and (at least momentarily) copyright infringement -- the last one on the list being the result of feds discovering a bunch of pirated movies and music on Schulte's server.
A 29-year-old former CIA computer engineer, Joshua Adam Schulte, was indicted Monday by the Department of Justice on charges of masterminding the largest leak of classified information in the spy agency's history.
Federal investigators believe a man who once worked for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is responsible for last year's massive leak of Top Secret CIA hacking tools, court documents reveal. The suspect has been named as Joshua Adam Schulte, 29, who lived in New York, and is now in federal jail in Manhattan--not for the hack, but on child pornography charges.
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