I-Team: Former CIA Employee Arrested on Child Porn Charges Now Suspected of Leaking Classified Intel - NBC New York
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I-Team: Former CIA Employee Arrested on Child Porn Charges Now Suspected of Leaking Classified Intel

I-Team: Former CIA Employee Arrested on Child Porn Charges Now Suspected of Leaking Classified Intel
Joshua Schulte

What to Know

  • Former CIA employee Joshua Adam Schulte has been jailed since his arrest last year on child porn charges

  • Now feds say they believe he also leaked over 8,000 CIA documents to WikiLeaks

  • Schulte was originally released on bail on the pornography charges, but bail was revoked after he was discovered using a computer

A former CIA employee arrested in New York on child pornography charges is also a suspect in a major leak of classified CIA information and technology.

Joshua Adam Schulte was arrested late last year and is currently being housed at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on child pornography charges. In a court hearing before Judge Paul Crotty, his own lawyer Jacob Kaplan said the FBI suspects his client leaked over 8,000 CIA documents to Wikileaks. 

“The FBI believed that Mr. Schulte was involved in that leak. As part of that investigation, they obtained numerous search warrants for Mr. Schulte’s phone, for his computers, and other items in order to establish the connection between Mr. Schulte and the Wikileaks leak,” Kaplan said.

To date, Schulte has not been charged in connection with the leak of critical CIA programs. He remains behind bars at MCC on the possession of child porn charges. According to prosecutors, Schulte had a 54 GB-encrypted section of a hard drive that depicted children – possibly as young as 2 years old – involved in sex acts. He is also facing state sex assault-related charges in Virginia. 

His lawyer did not immediately return calls for comment. But during a hearing in January, Kaplan denied Schulte had played any role in the leak of CIA information.

Kaplan argued that the information the Government used to obtain the warrant was inaccurate and said, “what I think is important for the Court is, in April or May of 2017, the government had full access to his computers and his phone, and they found the child pornography in this case, but what they didn't find was any connection to the WikiLeaks investigation.”

A U.S. Attorney spokesman declined to comment.  But during the same hearing before Judge Paul Crotty, Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Laroche said the leak investigation was very much ongoing.

“The material that was taken was taken during a time when the defendant was working at the agency,” Laroche said. “The government immediately had enough evidence to establish that he was the target of that investigation. They conducted a number of search warrants on the defendant’s residence.”

The 2016 leak of CIA programs was considered damaging because experts say it exposed specific CIA technological capabilities. To date, no one has been charged in that leak. The Washington Post first reported Schulte’s possible connection to the CIA leak. 

Schulte – who worked for the CIA for over six years - was originally released on bail on the pornography charges. Crotty revoked his bail after prosecutors alleged he was using a computer with the help of his roommate in violation of a court order. The defendant’s desktop computer had at least one classified document over 10,000 child porn images and had layers of encryption, according to the court transcript.

Schulte lived in New York and attempts to reach his parents in Texas for comment were not successful. However, his 29-year-old brother Jason Schulte tells News 4 that Joshua Schulte was "falsely accused" in both the child porn case and in the Virginia sex assault case.

"The damage assessment isn't completed yet," said Juan Zarate, a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official and NBC News consultant. "The intelligence community doesn't know yet what the effects are and the implications of this revelation. But if these documents are authentic, it does reveal CIA capabilities."

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