Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

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

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

Reports in both The New York Times and the Washington Post said the man, Joshua Schulte, had worked for both the Central Intelligence Agency and the NSA. the latter as an intern. Authorities searched his apartment in NY past year in hopes of finding evidence of sharing secret documents with WikiLeaks, going through his computers and handwritten notes.

In a statement to the Post, Schulte proclaimed his innocence.

Schulte, 29, has pleaded not guilty to the child pornography charges.

Mr. Schulte's lawyers have repeatedly demanded that prosecutors make a decision on the Vault 7 leak charges.

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The archive of files detailed the CIA's use of hacking tools, including malware to take over iPhones and turn smart television sets into surveillance devices.

Schulte, according to his LinkedIn profile, worked as a systems engineer specializing in high-speed passive signals intelligence for the NSA in 2010.

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.

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.

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The leak, which was referred to as "Vault 7", was one of the largest in USA history, but in August, prosecutors separately charged Schulte with possession of child pornography - agents apparently found 10,000 images on a server he built as a business in 2009 while at university in Austin, Texas.

At a January hearing on child pornography charges filed against Schulte, an assistant US attorney in the Southern District of NY said the government conducted several search warrants on Schulte's home.

The embarrassing leaks - the largest data theft in the agency's history - included software that was created to take over iPhones and turn smart TVs into surveillance devices, the paper reported Tuesday. "The government immediately had enough evidence to establish that he was a target of that investigation", said prosecutor Matthew Laroche in court.

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. "They conducted a number of search warrants on the defendant's residence". "And since the defendant brought it up, I think it's particularly relevant given the other investigation which continues to be ongoing with respect to this defendant". "He remains a target of that investigation".

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It is unclear why, more than a year after he was arrested, he has not been charged or cleared in connection with Vault 7. What's on the public record now is that Schulte uses Tor, anonymity software used by millions of people, and that he planned to leave the country a year ago - a trip he says was for a family vacation to Cancun.

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