Former CIA Officer Receives 40-Year Prison Sentence for Espionage and Child Pornography Offenses

New York City: A 35-year-old man from New York, New York, has been sentenced to 480 months in prison for a range of serious offenses including espionage, computer hacking, contempt of court, making false statements to the FBI, and child pornography. The theft committed by Schulte stands as the most significant data breach ever witnessed within the CIA.

Furthermore, his act of transmitting the stolen information to WikiLeaks ranks among the most substantial unauthorized disclosures of classified information in the history of the United States. Today’s sentencing comes after Schulte’s convictions in trials that concluded on March 9, 2020, July 13, 2022, and Sept. 13, 2023.

Court documents reveal that Schulte worked as a software developer in the Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI) from 2012 to 2016. The CCI is responsible for conducting offensive cyber operations, specifically cyber espionage targeting terrorist organizations and foreign governments. Schulte and other CCI developers contributed to the development of tools utilized in various operations, including those involving human-enabled cyber operations targeting specific computer networks.

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In March 2017, the FBI conducted a search of Schulte’s apartment in New York. They found various items such as computers, servers, and electronic storage devices, including Schulte’s personal desktop computer. It is worth noting that Schulte had built this computer while residing in Virginia and later brought it to New York in November 2016. FBI agents discovered numerous layers of encryption on the Desktop Computer, concealing a large collection of disturbing and horrific content.

This collection included thousands of videos and images depicting child sexual abuse, with victims as young as two years old. Additionally, the collection contained content related to bestiality and sadomasochism. Schulte obtained some of these files while working for the CIA and continued to gather child pornography from the dark web and Russian websites after relocating to New York.

“Joshua Schulte betrayed his country by committing some of the most brazen, heinous crimes of espionage in American history,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams for the Southern District of New York.

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