Ex-CIA man named as suspect in Vault 7 leak

A man walks across the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency in the lobby of CIA headquarters in McLean Virginia.                        Alex Wong Getty Images

The identity of the suspected Vault 7 leaker, which detailed the capabilities of USA intelligence agencies to manipulate everyday technologies, was revealed to be 29-year-old Joshua Schulte, a former CIA software engineer who designed malware that could break into the computers of suspected terrorists, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. Public court documents show that investigators obtained a warrant to search Schulte's residence in NY back on March 13, 2017, about a week after WikiLeaks had publicly released the first batch of stolen Central Intelligence Agency tools.

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

In August previous year, authorities filed child pornography charges against Schulte, who is in a jail in Manhattan, after claiming to have found 10,000 illicit images on a server that he had set up in 2009 while studying at the University of Texas in Austin.

When Schulte's apartment was searched, a week after the first Vault 7 dump on 7 March, the search warrant application said he was suspected of "distribution of national defence information".

Schulte also claimed that he reported "incompetent management and bureaucracy" at the CIA to that agency's inspector general as well as a congressional oversight committee.

The suspect was identified by The New York Times as Joshua A. Schulte, 29, a former CIA software engineer who designed malware that the spy agency used to hack into the computers of terror suspects.

He has plead not guilty to the charges.

The CIA declined to comment.

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.

He also said that because of 'unfortunate circumstances the Federal Bureau of Investigation ultimately made the snap judgement that (he) was guilty of the leaks and targeted (him)'.

Schulte's lawyer, Sabrina Shroff of the federal public defender's office, accused the feds of dragging their feet. Following the search of his apartment in March 2017, prosecutors waited six months to bring the child pornography charges. They conducted a number of search warrants on the defendant's residence. Prosecutors, meanwhile, said in court last week that they plan to file a new indictment in the next 45 days.

Schulte worked in the CIA's Engineering Development Group, which produced the computer code, according to people with knowledge of his employment history as well as the group's role in developing cyberweapons.

Related:

Comments


Other news