FBI Has Suspect in Damaging CIA Leak of Spying Code

17 May, 2018, 01:15 | Author: Barbara Daniel
  • John A. Schulte is facing a child pornography charge but is also accused of leaking classified CIA documents to Wiki Leaks last year

A prosecutor says the government hopes to bring new charges within weeks against a former Central Intelligence Agency employee who is jailed on child pornography charges, but is also a target of a probe of a massive leak of cyber hacking tools, according to court documents reviewed on Tuesday by AP.

In March 2017, Wikileaks published thousands of documents detailing the spy agency's cyber-warfare programme.

But instead of charging Mr. Schulte in the breach, referred to as the Vault 7 leak, prosecutors charged him last August with possessing child pornography, saying agents had found 10,000 illicit images on a server he created as a business in 2009 while studying at the University of Texas at Austin.

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. "I would disagree with defense counsel's characterization that those search warrants haven't yielded anything that is consistent with his involvement in that disclosure". According to Schulte's LinkedIn page, he also worked for the US National Security Agency as a system engineer, prior to his time at the CIA.

Government prosecutors say the man is a target of the ongoing leak investigation.

Schulte's connection to the leak investigation has not been previously reported. But to this day, no charges have been brought against Schulte in the Vault 7 leaks investigation.

However, prosecutors suggested in the hearing that they were unable to present the evidence to the court because, while they had decrypted his hard-disk drives, they were unable to separate the child abuse images from the Vault 7 documents, and therefore required security clearance before the hearing could continue. The agency would also like to arrest the person responsible for providing the documents to Wikileaks, and has identified a possible suspect. Schulte says the server is accessible by at least 50 other people, and perhaps as many as 100.

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.

The New York Times reported on Tuesday that Schulte is a suspect in the leak, according to public court documents.

The prosecution team plans to file an indictment in the next 45 days, they said last week in court. He then left the intelligence community in 2016 and started working in the private sector.

United States federal agencies launched a criminal investigation at the time and, according to United States media, the software engineer's home in New York City was searched within a week.

At a January 8 hearing, Schulte's attorneys argued that they did not contest his detention, based on their understanding that Schulte would be sent to Virginia, pursuant to a warrant.



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