World

US Identifies Suspect in Leak of CIA Hacking Tools

US Identifies Suspect in Leak of CIA Hacking Tools

The Federal Bureau of Investigation suspects that a former Central Intelligence Agency employee separately charged with possessing child pornography had a role in the unauthorized release of a trove of CIA hacking tools to the WikiLeaks website a year ago, according to a court transcript. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents reportedly searched his Manhattan home a week after the WikiLeaks published its first Vault 7 dispatch in March 2017.

The leak of the CIA code was damaging because it gave away secrets of how the agency uses cyberweapons to spy on overseas targets. It is not clear whether the government is pursuing contractors as part of the leak investigation, but prosecutors have not mentioned anyone other than Schulte in court proceedings.

The FBI agents managed to obtain multiple computers, servers and storage devices from Schulte's home, including an "encrypted container, approximately 54 GB in size", which held the child pornography.

With more than 8,000 CIA documents published to date, according to a defense attorney at the January hearing, the Vault 7 series came as a major embarrassment to USA intelligence officials. Prosecutors say he used the program at his apartment in NY, but they haven't provided evidence that he did it to leak classified information.

According to The Washington Post, we are talking about Joshua Adam Schulte.

He has plead not guilty to the charges.

The newspaper reported for the first time that the suspect is Joshua Adam Schulte, a former Central Intelligence Agency employee.




The CIA declined to comment.

No charges have been filed against Schulte and his defense lawyers have insisted he was not involved.

Schulte was arrested in August, but prosecutors have been unable to bring charges against him. Prosecutors said in court last week they plan to file a new indictment in the next 45 days, according to the Times.

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

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.

Clarification: An earlier version of this report quoted Laroche as saying that "those search warrants haven't yielded anything that is consistent with [Schulte's] involvement in that disclosure".