Man Behind Largest CIA Data Leak Sentenced to 40 Years

    Man Behind Largest CIA Data Leak Sentenced to 40 Years
    Photo: Brooks Kraft/Contributor/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Former CIA software engineer Joshua Schulte — who was responsible for the largest leak of documents in the agency's history — was sentenced to 40 years in prison Thursday.

    • Collectively known as Vault 7, Schulte leaked over 8K CIA documents to the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks in 2017, detailing the agency's trove of hacking tools used to penetrate phones, computers, and smart TVs.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Schulte was placed in a position of trust by the US government. Not only did he betray that trust by brazenly committing one of the most substantial cases of espionage this century, but he also continued his criminal behavior in prison by attempting to leak further damaging documents in addition to accessing child pornography. Federal investigators did an amazing job bringing this traitor to justice, and a 40-year prison sentence is an appropriate punishment.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The Special Administrative Measures that Schulte is placed in — which will continue throughout his 40-year sentence — means he's held in solitary confinement in a cell the size of a parking space for 23 hours a day. He has no access to reading materials or entertainment, and is allowed no visitors except his lawyers. While Schulte broke federal laws, and nothing excuses his possession of child pornography, that doesn't mean he should be tortured — this is revenge for him informing the American people of their government's unscrupulous activities.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 30% chance that the US will drop below a 7 in the Democracy index by 2040, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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