Former CIA agent accused of sending classified information to WikiLeaks

June 20, 2018

Joshua Schulte, a former NSA and CIA staffer, was indicted on multiple Espionage Act charges on June 18, 2018, for allegedly leaking sensitive CIA files to WikiLeaks.

On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began publishing classified documents that detailed hacking tools and techniques used by the CIA. Later that month, as part of an investigation into the leak, federal agents raided Schulte’s apartment and seized his computer.

On August 24, 2017, Schulte was arrested on federal child pornography charges, after federal investigators discovered evidence of child pornography on one of Schulte’s computers that had been seized in the raid. At the time, Schulte was not charged with leaking any classified information.

On June 18, 2018, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment against Schulte. The indictment accuses Schulte of sending classified CIA material to WikiLeaks, in violation of the Espionage Act and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. It also restates the earlier child pornography charges and further accuses him of copyright infringement (for allegedly running a server that stored pirated movies), obstruction of justice, and lying to federal agents.

Schulte is the latest person to be criminally prosecuted in connection with an investigation into classified leaks.

In June 2017, NSA contractor Reality Winner was charged under the Espionage Act for allegedly sending a classified document to The Intercept.

In March 2018, former FBI agent Terry Albury was charged under the Espionage Act for allegedly sharing with The Intercept a number of classified FBI documents that instruct agents on how to cultivate informants and surveil journalists.

In May 2018, former Senate Intelligence Committee staffer James Wolfe was charged with lying to federal agents about his communication with journalists. Wolfe has not been charged with leaking any classified information to journalists, though he was interviewed by federal agents as part of an investigation into classified leaks.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected]

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