(NewsNation) — A former CIA software engineer has been convicted in what a U.S. attorney calls one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history.
Joshua Schulte is facing up to 80 years in prison for the biggest theft of classified information since the Central Intelligence Agency was created.
According to investigators, Schulte leaked classified information to WikiLeaks in 2017. The Vault 7 leak revealed how the CIA hacked Apple and Android smartphones in overseas spying operations and described efforts to turn smart TVs into listening devices.
For former CIA officer Tracy Walder, the million-dollar question is: How does something like this happen with an organization like the CIA?
“I think what we need to look at is, what was security like? What was the background check procedure like for him?” Walder questioned.
In light of the conviction, Walder tells NewsNation the CIA should think about revisiting how frequently they perform background investigations on employees. She says typically, employees come up for background reviews every five years.
“We still should have faith in the organization. But what I do think needs to happen is we need to take a different look at how often these re-ups of our background investigations are done. I do believe that five years is perhaps a little bit too long to go in terms of our security clearance,” Walder said.
Schulte claims he was a scapegoat for the secrets released by WikiLeaks. Prosecutors insist he arranged the leak over accusations the CIA ignored his complaints about the work environment.
Schulte’s initial trial in 2020 resulted in a mistrial after jurors deadlocked. His next trial is based on allegations that he had a computer containing child pornography spanning several years.