A former CIA software engineer was convicted on Wednesday of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks from the spy agency, in one of the biggest such thefts in CIA history.
Jurors in Manhattan federal court convicted Joshua Schulte, 33, on eight espionage charges and one obstruction charge over the so-called Vault 7 leak.
Schulte had represented himself at the month-long trial. The jury began deliberating on Friday. An earlier trial ended in a March 2020 mistrial because jurors were deadlocked on the main counts.
“Today, Schulte has been convicted for one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history,” in undermining U.S. efforts to battle “terrorist organizations and other malign influences” around the world, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams in Manhattan said in a statement.
The leaked materials concerned software tools the Central Intelligence Agency used to surveil people outside the United States, through such means as compromising smartphones and internet-connected TVs.
WikiLeaks began publishing the leaked materials in March 2017.
The U.S. Department of Justice said Schulte, who resigned from the CIA in November 2016, was motivated to leak the materials out of spite because he was unhappy with how management treated him.
Schulte countered that he was framed and scapegoated for the leak because of his issues with management.
He was originally arrested in August 2017 on unrelated charges and has been jailed since bail was revoked four months later.
The Justice Department announced the charges related to WikiLeaks in June 2018.
Last month, Britain’s interior minister approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States. He faces federal criminal charges in Virginia over his alleged role in publishing secret military documents in 2010.
Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters