National Security

Prosecutors paint coder accused of CIA leak as ‘vindictive’ as trial wraps up

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Federal prosecutors argued Monday that a former coder with the CIA on trial for allegedly leaking to WikiLeaks was a “vindictive” and disgruntled employee ready to “burn down the United States government.”

The Associated Press reported that Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Laroche argued in his closing statement that Joshua Schulte, a former CIA computer engineer on trial for theft of government property and illegal gathering of information, was determined to betray the United States by leaking classified information.

“The defendant was prepared to burn down the United States government,” Laroche said, according to the AP. “He is an angry and vindictive man.”

Schulte has pleaded not guilty to the charges, with his defense attorneys arguing that he was wrongly prosecuted by an agency desperate to cover up the largest leak in CIA history.

“The government cannot tell you which of the many people with access to this data” stole the files, defense attorney Sabrina Shroff reportedly said. “It wasn’t Mr. Schulte who did this.”

An FBI official said in 2018 that Schulte’s leak of the information, which contained large portions of the CIA’s hacking tools, amounted to a betrayal of the country.

“Schulte utterly betrayed this nation and downright violated his victims,” FBI official William Sweeney Jr. said at the time. “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.”

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