Ex-CIA employee charged in leak disputes evidence
NEW YORK (AP) — Calling himself an “innocent man,” a former CIA employee accused of stealing classified national defense information said in a handwritten letter to a judge Thursday that the U.S. government used falsehoods to put him behind bars.
“It’s only a matter of time but rest assured, I will prove my innocence,” Joshua Adam Schulte said in a 137-page bail letter he submitted to a New York judge.
Schulte, 29, alternated in his repetitive and rambling letter between despair and determination to prove he’s wrongly accused in an embarrassing and damaging episode for the CIA that is known as the “Vault 7” leak.
He said his specialty at the CIA was data hiding and cryptography and claimed he was among the top specialists in the world.
He said he had worked on “the most sensitive operations” including special projects touching countries including Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Denmark and Turkey.
Schulte claimed he helped verify the location of Osama bin Laden before his 2011 killing and helped “capture and kill terrorists, and even prevent terrorist attacks from right here in New York City.”
He signed his name beneath the words: “Innocent Indefinitely Incarcerated Inmate #79471-054.” The letter was publicly filed for several minutes before it was taken out of the public court file.
U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty at a hearing Thursday instructed prosecutors to respond within a week.
The judge noted the length of the bail argument and the fact that it included a 100-page appendix before Schulte told him he wanted to show him new information.
He said he was improperly detained last August pending trial and wanted to attack the presumption that he is a danger to the community.
Prosecutors declined comment through a spokeswoman after the submission was made public.
Schulte was charged last week with the theft of classified materials that were released by WikiLeaks in March 2017.
In his court filing, Schulte said that at least 20 people had access to the information leaked by WikiLeaks, but investigators thought only three could have accessed the data.
“It should be clear that the FBI rushed, with reckless disregard for the truth, to meet an arbitrary, artificial, and unrealistic deadline one week after Vault 7 was posted,” he wrote.
He also said he would easily prove that he did not know about and could not access child porn found on his computer, which he blamed on a business he ran that provided storage space for his clients’ private data.
“This is the story of a botched investigation and the search for a scapegoat to conceal government incompetence,” he said. “Alas, there is no child pornography case. There is no national security case. There is just an innocent man who served his country and was wrongfully punished for reporting issues to his management.”
According to an indictment, Schulte stole the information in 2016 in the Eastern District of Virginia. At Thursday’s hearing, he agreed to be tried in New York.