Prosecutors called it a “digital Pearl Harbor.”
In a domestic espionage case that hasn’t gotten nearly the public attention it deserves, a former CIA employee who worked in an elite computer intelligence unit has been sentenced to four decades in prison for crimes that included exposing United States secrets in the cyberintelligence world.
And the true extent of the damage might never be known.
According to The Associated Press, Joshua Schulte, 35, was sentenced in federal court in Manhattan on Thursday to 40 years for releasing highly classified information about the Central Intelligence Agency’s methods of collecting information in the computer world.
Shulte was also sentenced for possession of child pornography, according to the AP. (Now, who would ever believe that a guy who betrayed his country to WikiLeaks might have other character flaws, too?)
Prosecutors called the case a “digital Pearl Harbor,” ABC News reported.
“We will likely never know the full extent of the damage, but I have no doubt it was massive,” Judge Jesse M. Furman said, while pronouncing the sentence, according to the AP.
An ex-CIA employee was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the largest theft of classified information in the history of American intelligence, — CNN.
A few years ago, Joshua Schulte gave WikiLeaks classified documents related to the intelligence hacking tools used to hack the… pic.twitter.com/9NyhLEX78U
— FLASH (@Flash_news_ua) February 2, 2024
So, Schulte is joining the black wall of shame that commemorates other high-tech traitors in 21st century American history: Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, Reality Winner.
Snowden, of course, used his access at the National Security Agency to spread American cybersecrets to the international media. He got an Oscar-winning documentary made about him in the West — and lives as a guest of the Russian government in the East.
As an aside, it’s true that there are conservatives today who praise Snowden for exposing secrets about the American government’s abuse of technology to spy on its own citizens. But if conservatives want to start countenancing traitorous behavior because it’s from the “right” side, it’s a recipe for political defeat just by virtue of numbers. There are a lot more traitors on the left — conservatives will never compete.
Besides, it’s like praising a terrorist for blowing up a house to reveal what’s in the basement. There are better ways to do things.
Chelsea Manning (nee Bradley Manning), is the former Army private who betrayed the country by sending troves of classified and sensitive military intelligence to WikiLeaks to publish for the whole world to see. Manning was lucky enough, or smart enough, or mentally diseased enough to claim to be a transgender woman living in a man’s body — which not only made him a cause célèbre for liberals, it no doubt helped convince then-President Barack Obama to commute Manning’s 35-year prison sentence to one of seven years of confinement.
Obama’s decision came in January 2017, in one of his final acts as president. As NBC News reported at the time, it effectively resulted in Manning’s release with time served.
Manning has since become a published author and D-lister in Democratic politics. (A Manning-for-Senate bid in 2018 got plenty of media attention but ended in a trouncing in the primary at the hands of incumbent Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin.)
And then there’s Reality Winner, the Air Force veteran and NSA contractor who leaked information in 2017 about supposed Russian interference in U.S. elections. She got a prison term of more than five years, but was released in 2021 for good behavior, as The New York Times reported.
She had a play written about her interview with the FBI. (Shockingly, it never made it off Off Broadway.)
And now comes Joshua Schulte, who, according to news reports, can’t even claim to have noble intentions behind his traitorous behavior. Snowden claimed he was concerned about the government’s power, Manning and Winner claimed concern about the government’s behavior.
Schulte was apparently concerned that CIA human resources folks weren’t paying sufficient attention to his gripes at work.
As The Washington Post put it:
“Prosecutors said he was motivated to leak classified information because of resentment over the CIA’s handling of his work-related grievances. He was angry about interpersonal conflicts, being transferred to a different branch, not being granted a certain level of access within the CIA’s systems and similar issues,” prosecutor Damian Williams said in court documents.
“He chose to burn our nation’s security to the ground because he did not get his way,” Williams said, adding that Schulte “had a comfortable upbringing and family support.”
According to CNN, Schulte’s problems arose in 2015, when “he began to feud with management and a co-worker.” Schulte filed a restraining order against the co-worker and both were transferred.
CNN also reported that “Schulte became enraged when CIA officials wanted to hire a contractor to build a cyber tool similar to one he was building, prosecutors said.”
So he leaked information to WikiLeaks in 2016. It was published in 2017, and Schulte was imprisoned in 2018, first on the child porn charges, then on the leaks. His 40-year sentence includes both “illegally gathering and transmitting national defense information” and possession of more than 10,000 images of child pornography. But the bulk of it is for the intelligence crimes.
He got six years and eight months for the child porn, according to AP.
It was his second trial. A 2020 effort ended in a mistrial when the jury deadlocked on the most serious charges, the New York Post reported.
In a way it’s not all that surprising that the Schulte case hasn’t grabbed more attention — he apparently lacks any qualities the establishment media can lionize.
He wasn’t blowing the whistle on National Security Agency abuses a la Snowden, or conjuring up criminal behavior by Americans in Afghanistan like Manning aimed to, and he’s not a photogenic young woman with a cool name like Reality Winner.
He’s just a disgruntled sicko who’s into child porn.
He’s just a guy whose gripes about his work place led him to divulge information about the CIA that the country’s deadliest enemies would love to know. He committed what a prosecutor called “the most damaging disclosures of classified information in American history.”
But the establishment media is more than willing to move on.
After all, it’s not like he’s wearing a MAGA hat or something.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
The post Former CIA Insider Convicted, Sentenced to 40 Years in Prison for Crimes Against America appeared first on The Gateway Pundit.