United States identifies suspect in major leak of Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools

US Government Plans To Indict Alleged CIA Leaker

United States identifies suspect in major leak of Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools

A former CIA engineer who was charged with possession of child pornography is also accused of leaking classified agency documents to Wikileaks.

The NYT quoted Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in California, as saying that WikiLeaks had magnified the danger posed by the Vault 7 leaks and that the tools were aimed only at small groups of high-value targets. "The material that was taken was taken during a time when the defendant was working at the agency".

Schulte worked at the agency as a software engineer who helped design malware used to break into the computers of terrorism suspects and other targets.

Despite searching the suspect's NY apartment, prosecutors say they now lack the evidence to charge Schulte.

That cache would eventually be disclosed as the "Vault 7" data dump.

Interesting that they can't get charges for the leak against him, even though he has been in a Manhattan jail since September for the child pornography charges. The government immediately had enough evidence to establish that he was a target of that investigation.

A government prosecutor disagreed with what he called the "characterization" by Schulte's attorney that "those search warrants haven't yielded anything that is consistent with [Schulte's] involvement in that disclosure".

Joshua A. Schulte
Joshua A. Schulte

Jacob Kaplan, Schulte's attorney at the January hearing, told the court that "the government had full access to his computers and his phone, and they found the child pornography in this case, but what they didn't find was any connection to the WikiLeaks investigation".

Those materials were dumped on the internet in what WikiLeaks claimed was the largest-ever publication of confidential Central Intelligence Agency documents, much of which pertained to electronic surveillance and cyber weapons. He has pleaded not guilty.

"This is CIA's Edward Snowden", former CIA acting director Michael Morrell told CBS News Justice correspondent Jeff Pegues past year, referring to the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked millions of documents in 2013.

Schulte said he had also been planning a vacation with his brother to Cancun, Mexico, which may have given the appearance that he was trying to flee the country.

It is noted that despite the long months of investigation, prosecutors have been unable to charge him.

"Due to these unfortunate coincidences the Federal Bureau of Investigation ultimately made the snap judgment that I was guilty of the leaks and targeted me", Schulte said. His defense lawyers earlier insisted he was not involved in the theft.

Prosecutors said they plan to file a new indictment by July.

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