Ex-CIA employee identified as suspect in 'Vault 7' leaks

John A. Schulte is facing a child pornography charge but is also accused of leaking classified CIA documents to Wiki Leaks last year

John A. Schulte is facing a child pornography charge but is also accused of leaking classified CIA documents to Wiki Leaks last year

A former CIA employee has been named as the prime suspect in last year's dump of thousands of documents on the agency's hacking practices.

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.

In other hearings in Schulte's case, prosecutors have alleged that he used Tor at his NY apartment, but they have provided no evidence that he did so to disclose classified information.

Federal authorities believe Joshua Adam Schulte, who worked in the CIA's Engineering Development Group and is now in custody in NY awaiting trial for unrelated child pornography charges, was behind the "Vault 7" leaks of top-secret Central Intelligence Agency information to WikiLeaks.

At January's pretrial hearing for Schulte, Laroche said the material was taken from the CIA during the over six years that Schulte worked for the agency in various positions, including technical development officer. It was then a series of unlucky coincidences, he said, that led the government to focus in on him as a suspect in the leak investigation.

Schulte has actually been in jail since being indicted for possession of child pornography last September.

"Those search warrants haven't yielded anything that is consistent with [Schulte's] involvement in that disclosure", said assistant USA attorney in the Southern District of New York Matthew Laroche. The statement said he later reported "incompetent management and bureaucracy" at the CIA to the agency's inspector general and a congressional oversight committee. The disclosure constituted one of the largest breaches of classified.

So far federal prosecutors haven't charged Schulte for crimes stemming from the incident. The government immediately had enough evidence to establish that he was a target of that investigation. They conducted a number of search warrants on the defendant's residence.

Laroche said prosecutors got a warrant and searched Schulte's devices after identifying him as a target in the Wikileaks investigation.

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".

For reasons that are still unknown, Schulte hasn't been charged in the case despite being arrested more than a year ago.

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

Recommended News

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.