Former CIA officer gets 40 years over largest data breach in agency history, other charges

"Joshua Schulte betrayed his country by committing some of the most brazen, heinous crimes of espionage in American history," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

Published: February 1, 2024 9:43pm

A former CIA officer who stole agency documents and sent them to WikiLeaks was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday over a litany of charges.

Joshua Schulte. was first convicted in 2020 of making false statements and contempt of court. In 2022, he was found guilty of eight counts related to the illicit gathering and transmission of classified materials, according to the Department of Justice. He was convicted on child pornography charges in 2023.

Schulte worked in the Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI) from 2012-2016 during which time he abused his access to grant himself administrator privileges over a project from which he had been removed. Despite initial warnings about such conduct, he ultimately accessed the CIA network and stole copies of the CCI tool development archives, an act that constituted the agency's largest-ever data breach.

He then began sending classified materials to Wikileaks and federal investigators ultimately his home and searched his devices. On his desktop they discovered thousands of child sexual abuse images and videos. While incarcerated ahead of trial, Schulte managed to obtained cellphones and transmit further materials to WikiLeaks while also plotting to undermine CIA operations.

"Joshua Schulte betrayed his country by committing some of the most brazen, heinous crimes of espionage in American history.  He caused untold damage to our national security in his quest for revenge against the CIA for its response to Schulte’s security breaches while employed there," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said. "When the FBI caught him, Schulte doubled down and tried to cause even more harm to this nation by waging what he described as an 'information war' of publishing top secret information from behind bars."

"And all the while, Schulte collected thousands upon thousands of videos and images of children being subjected to sickening abuse for his own personal gratification," he continued. "The outstanding investigative work of the FBI and the career prosecutors in this Office unmasked Schulte for the traitor and predator that he is and made sure that he will spend 40 years behind bars – right where he belongs."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.


The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Unlock unlimited access

  • No Ads Within Stories
  • No Autoplay Videos
  • VIP access to exclusive Just the News newsmaker events hosted by John Solomon and his team.
  • Support the investigative reporting and honest news presentation you've come to enjoy from Just the News.
  • Just the News Spotlight

    Support Just the News