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Former CIA programmer sentenced to 40 years behind bars

Thousands of pages of confidential US documents surfaced on WikiLeaks in 2017. It was about hacker programs for espionage. It was passed on by a former CIA employee. He now has to be in prison for a long time.

A former employee of the US secret service CIA is said to have been behind bars for several decades for passing on secret documents to the disclosure platform WikiLeaks. According to US authorities, 35-year-old Joshua Schulte is responsible for the largest theft of secret data in the history of the CIA. The CIA even spoke of a “digital Pearl Harbor” in reference to the major Japanese attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor in World War II.

Information for hackers around the world

The documents revealed that the CIA had set up its own programming team to specifically spy on suspects through vulnerabilities in smartphones, computers and televisions, among other things. Hackers also gained access to these tools worldwide. Schulte is said to have acted out of anger at former colleagues.

The theft and publication of the programs “immediately and severely damaged” the CIA's ability to collect intelligence on U.S. adversaries, prosecutors said. CIA employees and programs were at risk and the data leak cost the secret service “hundreds of millions of dollars.”

According to the Justice Department, during a large-scale manhunt, investigators came across the man who had worked as a software engineer at the CIA developing espionage programs until 2016. He was charged in 2018 with, among other things, illegally obtaining national defense information and unlawfully disclosing it. He was found guilty in 2022, and last year he was also convicted of possession of child pornography. Now the sentence has been announced.

Claudia Sarre, ARD Washington, tagesschau, February 2nd, 2024 3:18 p.m

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