Joshua Schulte, former CIA coder, pleads not guilty to latest leak charges
Joshua Schulte, a former CIA employee suspected of leaking classified hacking tools to WikiLeaks, pleaded not guilty Friday to new counts related to allegedly leaking additional material while in custody awaiting trial for espionage.
Mr. Schulte, 30, entered the plea during a hearing in Manhattan federal court while being arraigned on two new charges concerning his conduct behind bars, according to his case docket.
A former CIA computer engineer, Mr. Schulte was being held at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) on charges related to allegedly leaking agency secrets when he was hit with a 15-count superseding indictment Thursday containing a pair of fresh charges: illegal transmission and attempted transmission of unlawfully possessed national defense information and contempt, a felony, and contempt of court.
According to prosecutors, Mr. Schulte allegedly used one or more smuggled cellphones to leak material while inside MCC, including additional classified information as well as protected search warrants, despite being previously warned against disclosing sensitive details involving his case.
Mr. Schulte was initially taken into custody in August 2017 on counts of child pornography, and he was subsequently identified by The Washington Post as suspect in the government’s search for the source responsible for “Vault 7,” a trove of CIA hacking tools released by the WikiLeaks website prior to his arrest. He was eventually charged in June with related violations of the U.S. Espionage Act and has pleaded not guilty to all counts.
“This entire case is a lies, but don’t take my word for it read it for yourself,” Mr. Schulte wrote in a letter to U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty last month. “As you peel back lie after lie, nothing remains but a bare search warrant affidavit without probable cause.”
The letter which also alleged Mr. Schulte was being subjected to “torture” while being held in solitary confinement at MCC was filed in his case docket Tuesday prior to being promptly removed.
Mr. Schulte appeared in person during Friday’s arraignment and was remanded after pleading not guilty, according to the case docket. A conference in his case has been set for Nov. 14.