In his opening statement on Tuesday, Joshua Schulte, a former CIA programmer who is in court for the second time for allegedly leaking a vast trove of classified secrets to WikiLeaks, accused the federal government of engaging in a “witch hunt” against him.
Former CIA agent Joshua Schulte, who’s representing himself in his trial before the federal court in Manhattan, asserted to the members of the jury that even though investigators have picked him out as the perpetrator, they actually still do not know who was responsible for the worst leak in the history of the CIA.
— New York Post (@nypost) June 14, 2022
The New York Post would go on to report:
“They first singled me out as the guilty party then worked backward,” he said. “It was a political witch hunt from day one.” At the start of his retrial Tuesday, Schulte told the panel that he is not a traitor to the US, rather a gifted and accomplished software engineer who was motivated to go into government service after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Speaking about the leak, he said, “Someone stole their crown jewels and they failed to realize that for an entire year. It’s not a good look for the CIA.”
The so-called “Vault 7” material that was published by WikiLeaks in 2017 showed, in part, how the agency could hack smartphones in spying operations abroad and detailed its attempts to turn certain televisions into listening devices.
Schulte testified that the information that was stolen was stored in a location that was so insecure that the programmers who operated on it referred to it as “the wild, wild west.” Just after the leak, Schulte claimed that the CIA pointed fingers at him straight away and then conducted a type of “Twilight Zone” investigation to show his guilt in the matter.
CIA leaker Josh Schulte, accused, claims that the government has “hunted witches” against him. https://t.co/ZdiPee3Qcr
— newsruk (@newsruk1) June 14, 2022
Schulte claimed that during his time working for the agency, he was part of a team that assisted in confirming the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden before the terrorist mastermind’s death at the hands of United States forces. The former CIA hacker delivered his opening remarks after the prosecutor, David Denton, told the jury that Schulte is a harmful, angry former agent who exposed CIA operatives and crucial tools utilized by the agency as a result of his alleged illicit release of the material.
Just imagine if CIA agents exposed the Pentagon’s plan of Operation Northwoods way back in the 60s? They would most certainly be treated like traitors instead of American heroes. One just has to look at Eric Snowden to know what is the result of anyone within the NSA or CIA who exposes corruption within the intelligence community.