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US Feds Charge New Yorker With Criminally Leaking Classified Info from CIA

© AP Photo / Carolyn KasterThis April 13, 2016 file photo shows the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
This April 13, 2016 file photo shows the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. - Sputnik International
On Monday, ex-CIA officer Joshua Schulte was charged by the US Attorney's Office from the Southern District of New York for child pornography offenses and for stealing classified national defense information from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and sending the material to an organization that disseminates such information publicly.

According to a Monday press release by the Department of Justice, Schulte is currently being detained for the child pornography charges. He will be arraigned by US District Judge Paul A. Crotty. 

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"Joshua Schulte, a former employee of the CIA, allegedly used his access at the agency to transmit classified material to an outside organization. During the course of this investigation, federal agents also discovered alleged child pornography in Schulte's New York City residence," Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Monday.

"The National Security Division, alongside our partners in the Intelligence Community, will not waver in our commitment to pursue and hold accountable these officials, and I commend all those at the Department of Justice and the FBI who have worked diligently to investigate this matter and bring these charges," Assistant Attorney General John C. Demers added.

Assistant Director-in-Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. also noted that "as alleged, Schulte utterly betrayed this nation and downright violated his victims. As an employee of the CIA, Schulte took an oath to protect this country, but he blatantly endangered it by the transmission of Classified Information. To further endanger those around him, Schulte allegedly received, possessed, and transmitted thousands of child pornographic photos and videos. In an effort to protect this nation against crimes such as these, the FBI's Counterintelligence Division in New York will continue to keep our mission at the forefront of our investigations in protecting the American public."

Last month, the identity of the suspected Vault 7 leaker, which detailed the capabilities of US intelligence agencies to manipulate everyday technologies, was also to be 29-year-old Schulte, a former CIA software engineer who designed malware that could break into the computers of suspected terrorists, the Washington Post reported. 

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According to a New York Times report last month, FBI agents obtained a warrant to search Schulte's apartment in March 2017, a week after WikiLeaks released the first batch of Vault 7 documents, which highlighted how the CIA tapped into iPhones and smart TVs and turned them into surveillance devices.

Instead of charging Schulte for the leak, prosecutors ended up charging him in August 2017 with possessing, receiving and transporting child pornography after investigators stated they'd found porn content on a server he'd created in 2009. Though he was released a month later in September, Schulte wound up back behind bars by December after violating the rules of his release.

Schulte has pleaded not guilty to the child porn charges and stated that anywhere from 50 to 100 people had access to the server he'd created in 2009 as a way to share movies and other digital files, according to the publication.

The imprisoned software engineer told the Washington Post in a statement last month that he'd been blamed for the leaks because he'd reported "incompetent management and bureaucracy" at the CIA to the inspector general. This, he alleges, made him appear as a disgruntled employee when he left the spy agency in 2016.

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