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CIA's Vault 7 Hacker Found Guilty of Stealing Government Secrets

He was convicted of releasing info to WikiLeaks showing how the CIA was hacking phones, smart TVs and computers.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Former CIA employee Joshua Adam Schulte was convicted Wednesday of stealing classified government documents and software tools and providing them to WikiLeaks, which then released them to the public.

Schulte was named as the target of a government investigation in May 2018 following the leak of the documents in March 2017. The leaks, called "Vault 7," revealed tools used by the CIA to hack people's phones, smart TVs and computers to access electronic evidence. 

Schulte had worked for the CIA as a coder, helping develop those hacking tools in Langley, Virginia. He's also awaiting trial on charges of possessing and transporting child pornography. The theft and release of information was "one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history," Damian Williams, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in a statement Wednesday.

"[Schulte] covertly collected those tools and provided them to WikiLeaks, making some of our most critical intelligence tools known to the public -- and therefore, our adversaries," Williams added.

The CIA didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.