Mistrial declared in case against accused CIA leaker Schulte

Jury deadlocks on eight counts, but former CIA coder convicted of contempt of court, making false statements to FBI

Inside the CIA
Inside the CIA
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Last Updated:
March 10, 2020 - 9:29am

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook


U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty on Monday declared a mistrial in the case against alleged CIA leaker Joshua Schulte, following the jury deadlocking on eight counts.

Schulte was convicted of contempt of court and making false statements to the FBI.

Schulte, a former CIA programer, was accused of executing the single largest breach of classified information in agency history, allegedly transferring access to classified hacking tools to outside hackers.

During trial testimony, a CIA official described the breach as “a digital Pearl Harbor."

The jury apparently had a difficult go of things — one member was dismissed halfway through deliberations because she’d researched the case online and shared information with the group.

After deliberating for six days, the jury described itself to the judge as “extremely deadlocked.” One juror tearfully told reporters that deliberations had been a “horrible experience.”

Prosecutors based their case on circumstantial evidence — including Schulte having downloaded computer programs that are used to transfer documents to Wikileaks. This prompted the jury to consider other culprits who might’ve been responsible for the theft.

The CIA division at which Schulte formerly worked, specializes in creating programs that allow agents to obtain files from foreign computers without being detected.

His conviction for contempt of court was issued due his transfer of sensitive information about his case to reporters from an encrypted account while he was in jail awaiting trial.

Schulte, 31, faces up to five years in prison for the lesser counts, and the government may retry the case.

Separately, Schulte faces a second federal trial on charges pertaining to more than 10,000 images and videos of child pornography that were located on devices in his home during a search by federal agents.