- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The CIA was asked to pick up the pace Tuesday by a lawyer representing Joshua Schulte, a former agency employee charged with espionage for allegedly leaking classified hacking tools to WikiLeaks.

Sabrina Shroff, a public defender for Mr. Schulte, asked a Manhattan federal court judge to impose an order requiring the CIA to finish conducting a classification review of related materials, citing a “significant delay” keeping the case from progressing.

A software engineer for the CIA prior to his arrest, Mr. Schulte is suspected of leaking classified information published online by WikiLeaks in 2017, including the source codes for hacking tools designed to compromise products ranging from cars and televisions, to web browsers and cellphones. He is being held in New York City awaiting trial and risks being sentenced to up to 135 years imprisonment if convicted.

In a letter to U.S. District Jude Paul A. Crotty, Ms. Schroff wrote that lawyers for Mr. Schulte provided relevant materials earlier this month to Daniel Hartenstine, a court-appointed Classified Information Security Officer, or CISO, tasked with serving as a point of contact in the case between the defendant and his former employer.

“A fortnight later, the CIA has yet to classify the document,” Ms. Schroff told the judge. “We discussed this delay with CISO Hartenstine and now raise it with the Court.”

Defense lawyers have accordingly asked the judge to impose a deadline for the CIA to finish conducting a classification review of Mr. Schulte’s work product, according to the letter.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Attorneys Office in the Southern District of New York declined to comment when reached by The Washington Times.

Mr. Schulte was charged in June 2018 with violating the U.S. Espionage Act in connection with allegedly stealing and disseminating national defense information. WikiLeaks is not named in court documents, but Mr. Schulte’s legal team previously identified the defendant as the individual suspected of supplying the website with a trove of CIA material release under the name “Vault 7.”

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is jailed pending trial. A status conference in his case is currently scheduled for March 26, according to his lawyer’s letter.

The Department of Justice announced in 2010 that federal prosecutors were investigating WikiLeaks in response to the website’s release of classified military and diplomatic materials sourced by Chelsea Manning, a former Army private. That probe is ongoing and has since widened to include the Vault 7 leak, Reuters reported previously.

Manning, 31, served seven years of a 35-year prison sentence prior to being released in 2017. She was reincarnated earlier this month, however, after she was held in contempt for refusing to cooperate with the Justice Department’s longstanding WikiLeaks probe, according to her lawyers.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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