June 19, 2018 / 12:13 AM / 5 months ago

U.S. charges ex-CIA employee with leaking classified data, child porn offenses

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. federal prosecutors on Monday charged a former CIA employee with leaking classified national defense information to an unnamed organization that publicly disseminates such data, as well as with child pornography offenses.

FILE PHOTO: The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building is pictured in Langley, Virginia, U.S., August 14, 2008. REUTERS/Larry Downing/File Photo

Joshua Schulte, a New York City resident, was charged in a 13-count superseding indictment connected to alleged theft of classified information from the CIA, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York said in a statement with U.S. Justice Department and FBI officials.

The charges, which carry combined maximum prison sentences of 130 years, also include criminal copyright infringement, the statement said.

Schulte, 29, was arrested in August 2017 on charges relating to his possession of some 10,000 images and videos of child pornography, after the FBI searched his personal computer, the statement said.

“As alleged, Schulte utterly betrayed this nation and downright violated his victims. As an employee of the CIA, Schulte took an oath to protect this country, but he blatantly endangered it by the transmission of classified information,”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney Jr. said in the statement.

The charging documents say Schulte is accused of sending the classified data to “an organization that purports to publicly disseminate classified, sensitive and confidential information,”

referred to as “Organization-1.”

WikiLeaks has published large amounts of secret information, including U.S. State Department diplomatic cables and emails and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and John Podesta, campaign manager for 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

There was no immediate response from WikiLeaks to a request for comment.

Reporting by Eric Walsh; Editing by Sandra Maler and Peter Cooney

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