- Former CIA software engineer Joshua Schulte — who was responsible for the largest leak of documents in the agency's history — was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday.1
- Collectively known as Vault 7, Schulte leaked over 8K CIA documents to the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks in 2017, detailing the agency's trove of hacking tools used to penetrate phones, computers, and smart TVs.2
- When the FBI raided his apartment the same year, they didn't find evidence that linked him to the disclosure. However, the FBI said it discovered images of children being molested by adults on a server he created as a university student in 2009. Once evidence of the leak was discovered, Schulte was indicted on 13 charges — including disclosure of classified information, child pornography, and lying to FBI investigators — in June 2018.3
- After a mistrial in 2020, Schulte was ultimately found guilty on eight charges relating to the release of the documents in July 2022. In September 2023, he was found guilty on three counts of receiving, possessing, and transporting child pornography.4
- In a letter to the judge prior to sentencing, Schulte's lawyers called for a shorter sentence and argued that the Special Administrative Measures — a restrictive regime for national security defendants that limits social interaction and confines prisoners to their cells for 23 hours a day — imposed on him during his six years of pre-trial detention amounted to torture, arguing this should be taken into consideration alongside the time he already spent in prison.5
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by United States Department of Justice. Schulte was placed in a position of trust by the US government. Not only did he betray that trust by brazenly committing one of the most substantial cases of espionage this century, but he also continued his criminal behavior in prison by attempting to leak further damaging documents in addition to accessing child pornography. Federal investigators did an amazing job bringing this traitor to justice, and a 40-year prison sentence is an appropriate punishment.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by Consortium News. The Special Administrative Measures that Schulte is placed in — which will continue throughout his 40-year sentence — means he's held in solitary confinement in a cell the size of a parking space for 23 hours a day. He has no access to reading materials or entertainment, and is allowed no visitors except his lawyers. While Schulte broke federal laws, and nothing excuses his possession of child pornography, that doesn't mean he should be tortured — this is revenge for him informing the American people of their government's unscrupulous activities.