Government Requests Harsh New Conditions Governing Joshua Schulte’s Access to Classified Discovery

When we last heard from Joshua Schulte, he had been thrown in solitary in response to FBI’s discovery that he had a cellphone in his jail cell at Metropolitan Correctional Center, after which FBI discovered he had other devices and 13 email and social media accounts.

In or about early October 2018, the Government learned that Schulte was using one or more smuggled contraband cellphones to communicate clandestinely with third parties outside of the MCC. The Government and the FBI immediately commenced an investigation into Schulte’s conduct at the MCC. That investigation involved, among other things, the execution of six search warrants and the issuance of dozens of grand jury subpoenas and pen register orders. Pursuant to this legal process, in the weeks following the Government’s discovery of Schulte’s conduct at the MCC, the FBI has searched, among other things, the housing unit at the MCC in which Schulte was detained; multiple contraband cellphones (including at least one cellphone used by Schulte that is protected with significant encryption); approximately 13 email and social media accounts (including encrypted email accounts); and other electronic devices.

Today, the government asked for supplemental protective order governing Schulte’s access to a special secure facility from which he can review classified discovery. Among other things, it requires his attorney to be searched for devices upon entering the facility, it requires him to remain in manacles throughout the time he is there, and sets up a clean team to monitor both what happens in the room and the computer the defense uses to review discovery.

The defense council will be screened for electronic devices prior to entering the SCIF when she meets with her client. Once inside the Secure Area, the defendant will be allowed to meet with cleared counsel during normal business hours. The Secure Area contains equipment (the “Computer Equipment”) to allow the defendant and cleared defense counsel to review the Classified Information produced by the Government. The Computer Equipment shall be used only for purposes of preparing the defense, and is enabled to log computer activity occurring on the equipment and is equipped with security measures. These logs may be reviewed by law enforcement agents or personnel who are not involved in the prosecution of the defendant (the “Wall Team”). In the event the Wall Team determines the Computer Equipment has been used in an unauthorized manner, including by attempting to circumvent any security measures or logging features, the Wall Agent will report that information to the CISO, who will notify the Court for further action.

When the defendant is present in the Secure Area, the Secure Area will be monitored for security purposes through closed circuit television (“CCTV”) by the Marshals and an authorized FBI agent for all scheduled productions. The CCTV will allow only for visual monitoring of the defendant and cleared defense counsel, and will not include audio. The CCTV will not be recorded. Should any Marshal or member of the Wall Team hear any conversation between the defendant and any of his counsel, those conversations will not be communicated to any member of the government prosecution team, including, but not limited to attorneys, agents, and support staff.

The Defendant will be in full restraints during the time he is in the SCIF and secured to a bolt in the floor. The Defendant will be stripped searched after departing the SCIF at the conclusion of each session. The Defense attorney will sign a waiver of liability due to the fact she will be alone and in close proximity to the defendant. The USMS reserves the right to terminate these meetings if security issues arise during any session.

While there’s no hint that one of Schulte’s defense attorneys was responsible for the past acquisition of contraband, the FBI sure seems intent on making sure that avenue isn’t possible going forward.

I believe when Schulte was arraigned on the new charge of leaking from jail, the government said that CIA hadn’t continued to give Schulte access to classified information after he left. Which suggests the stuff he tried to leak from jail included information he saw in discovery (presumably including how the FBI figured out he was the one leaking CIA’s tools).

As I disclosed in July, I provided information to the FBI on issues related to the Mueller investigation, so I’m going to include disclosure statements on Mueller investigation posts from here on out. I will include the disclosure whether or not the stuff I shared with the FBI pertains to the subject of the post. 

11 replies
  1. obsessed says:

    This name keeps coming up and I’ve yet to catch up. So this guy provided CIA code to WikiLeaks? Is  this another case where he’s a right wing actor but govt. overreach could set a dangerous precedent? Or is he supposed to be a good guy whistleblower? And is this 100% unrelated to Trump-Russia? Also, it seems very strange that there’s no wikipedia page for him.

  2. Trip says:

    the government said that CIA hadn’t continued to give Schulte access to classified information after he left. Which suggests the stuff he tried to leak from jail included information he saw in discovery (presumably including how the FBI figured out he was the one leaking CIA’s tools).

    Thanks Marcy. This part has been a huge mystery for me. I thought he might’ve been leaking stuff previously saved on the (smuggled) phones somehow.

    • Eureka says:

      Me too, similar:  I had thought the then-new leaks were from stuff previously (web-)parked and accessed via smuggled phones.  Though I suppose having accessed web-parked stuff isn’t ruled out for back then.(Edit: isn’t ruled out for someone like me, speculating in the public. As opposed to what gov knows about what has happened and/or how.)


      Also interesting because the new conditions maybe imply they cannot sure he doesn’t or hasn’t had additional access to getting info out (whether via a (non-attorney) person or another phone, etc).


      And the thought that they are trying to air-gap him and his attorney makes me speculate that they fear a high-risk leak to someone like Assange or his camp.

  3. rip says:

    “The defense council will be screened for electronic devices” – wow. Apparently there’s a whole gaggle of them coming to visit Schulte. I checked the filing document and this spelling is there also. Sorta sloppy.

  4. J R in WV says:

    So, Joshua was arrested first for child pornography, a truly despicable crime which I was once on a grand jury involved with a local man we indicted on such charges. Then they discovered his possession of CIA secret materials. Now he’s gonna be strip-searched after meeting with his defense council [sic]!! Wonder which set of crimes leads to the strip searches…???

    Anyway, he must be a real prize specimen. I’m sure he hopes for solitary confinement… not sure how I feel about him. Being on the grand jury for the child porn and rape cases was worse than being on petite jury for capital murder trials!

    Wait, I am sure how I feel about him. I gotta stop now!

  5. Nancy says:

    Just to know: is “council” a British/some other way of spelling “counsel”? I’ve never seen the word used that way before.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      No.  It is typical a Trump misspelling, one that his twitter aides have probably adopted.  Like most of his failings, Trump pretends that his illiteracy is an essential good, part of what makes him brilliant. It really demonstrates his persistent incurable ignorance.

      Counsel refers to a legal or other adviser.  Council is a consultative body or tribunal.

  6. allison holland says:

    I think rather than going to all this expensive monitoring that instead his attorneys not be allowed to bring anything but paper into his circumference.  We used to use paper quite effectively and I think it would help to undermine his insane self definition as a master of his own universe. Perhaps when he sees a computer it gives him a thrill and a psychological boost.  It maybe reminds him how the government had no control over him and he was able to fairly destroy the CIA’s code craft. So if he were to expect those beautiful, shiny and smooth black rectangles and found nothing but crinkly white paper that held no hope of mining for pictures of tormented children or others secrets to exploit I think he would feel diminished and ultimately more pliable. If all these things about him are true and real then I wish we could still have firing squads. No mercy.

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