A former CIA officer, Joshua Schulte, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for leaking classified hacking tools to Wikileaks and possessing child abuse images. Schulte was found guilty of leaking the CIA’s “Vault 7” tools, which enable intelligence officers to hack smartphones and use them for surveillance purposes. Prosecutors have described the leak as one of the most audacious in US history. Schulte shared over 8,700 documents with Wikileaks in 2017, making it the largest data breach in the CIA’s history. He denied the allegations but was convicted on multiple counts in federal trials held in New York between 2020 and 2023. In addition to espionage and computer hacking charges, he was also found guilty of contempt of court, making false statements to the FBI, and possession of child abuse images. US Attorney Damian Williams stated that Schulte had committed “some of the most brazen, heinous crimes of espionage in American history.” Evidence presented during the trial revealed that Schulte worked as a software developer in the Center for Cyber Intelligence, which conducts cyber espionage against terrorist organizations and foreign governments. Prosecutors argued that he leaked the information out of anger over a workplace dispute. The leak severely damaged the CIA’s ability to gather foreign intelligence, jeopardized personnel and assets, and cost the agency hundreds of millions of dollars. After Wikileaks published the data, Schulte denied responsibility during interviews with the FBI. However, a search of his apartment uncovered tens of thousands of child sexual abuse images. Prosecutors also revealed that he attempted to transmit more information after his arrest by smuggling a phone into jail and contacting a reporter. Schulte has been in custody since 2018.