Joshua Schulte
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Joshua Schulte
The ex-CIA leaker who gave WikiLeaks the 'Vault7' documents smuggled phones into a Manhattan jail with the intention of waging an "information war" against the US government and "finally revers[ing] US jingoism" from behind bars.

Former CIA technician Joshua Schulte, who leaked documents confirming the CIA can spy on people through their "smart" appliances, along with a mind-boggling array of other sophisticated hacking tools, "smuggled contraband cellphones into the [Metropolitan Correctional Center], created encrypted email accounts and secret social media accounts, and drafted misleading 'articles' for public dissemination that were not only fraught with misinformation but also contained classified information," a US government memorandum filed Monday claims. The memo adds that Schulte has "gone to extraordinary lengths... to try to blackmail the Government into releasing him by disclosing and threatening to disclose more classified information."

Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman filed to block Schulte's request to end the extreme restrictions - including solitary confinement - placed on him in prison, arguing Schulte has only himself to blame for the harsh measures, which forbid contact with anyone outside his immediate family and lawyer.

Schulte, the memo claims, used contraband phones and deputized his fellow prisoners and extended family members in a pattern of "willful and illegal acts that culminated in his declaration of an 'information war' against the United States," continuing to leak classified material to reporters through this ad-hoc information network and threatening to go much, much bigger.

"I will look to breakup diplomatic relationships, close embassies, and US occupation around the world & finally reverse US jingoism," Schulte allegedly wrote in a journal found in his cell, demanding "$50 billion in restitution" and the prosecution of "the criminals who lied to the judge and presented this BS case."

Berman argues that if the restrictions are lifted, Schulte will resume his "information war," and denies the measures violate his First Amendment rights. "The Court need not speculate whether Schulte would disclose classified information illegally from the MCC because he already has," Berman states.

Schulte was arrested in August 2017 and has been in jail since December 2017, when his bail was revoked after he used the internet in what prosecutors say was a violation of his conditional release. He faces 13 counts of "theft of classified defense information," along with charges of spreading malware, lying to the FBI, obstructing justice, copyright infringement, and child pornography - though he claims the government planted the latter on his computer - and could face as many as 135 years in prison.

The Vault7 leak was the "largest loss of confidential material in US history," according to the government, and the documents' publication in March 2017 triggered an agency-wide manhunt. The leaked documents describe a mind-boggling array of hacking tools the CIA has at its disposal, allowing the agency to eavesdrop on any smart device (including televisions and other home appliances), spoof online traffic, and eavesdrop, hijack, and otherwise interfere with all operating systems and web browsers.