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Ex-CIA employee convicted over leaking documents to Wikileaks

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
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A former CIA software engineer has been convicted of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks from the spy agency.

Joshua Schulte, 33, was convicted Wednesday on eight espionage charges and one obstruction charge over the so-called Vault 7 leak.

"Today, Schulte has been convicted for one of the most brazen and damaging acts of espionage in American history," US Attorney Damian Williams in Manhattan said in a statement.

Schulte said he was singled out although “hundreds of people had access to (the information). … Hundreds of people could have stolen it.”

“The government’s case is riddled with reasonable doubt,” he added. “There’s simply no motive here.”

The Vault 7 leak showed how the CIA hacked Apple and Android smartphones in overseas spying operations, and attempts to turn internet-connected televisions into listening devices.

WikiLeaks began to publish the leaked materials in March 2017 and in June, 2018, the US Justice Department announced the charges pertaining to the media organization.

On June 17, British Home Secretary Priti Patel approved the extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from the UK to the US, following a series of failed legal battles in Britain’s courts.

Patel said at the time that British courts had reached the conclusion that Assange's extradition would not violate his human rights, and that he would be treated appropriately.

Assange is mainly wanted by the US government for publishing about 750,000 classified military and diplomatic documents related to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The most damning batch was The Iraqi War Logs, which represent the biggest military leak in the US history.

Washington claims releasing vast troves of confidential US military records and diplomatic cables has put lives in danger.

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