U.S. identifies suspect in leak of Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools


The U.S. government has identified a suspect accused of leaking a stolen archive of secret CIA documents regarding the agency's hacking operations.

At January's pre-trial 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.

Federal investigators suspect a former CIA employer is responsible for giving top secret CIA documents to Wikileaks previous year, which resulted in the agency's biggest leak of classified information.

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.

A Twitter account linked to Joshua Schulte, a former CIA officer suspected of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, previously endorsed killing the website's most well-know source, former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning. But that failed to provide the evidence that prosecutors needed to indict Schulte with illegally giving the information to WikiLeaks.

An assistant United States attorney, Matthew Larouche, claimed during a court hearing in January that "the government immediately had enough evidence" to investigate Schulte as a suspect in the Vault 7 leaks.

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However, he is facing unrelated charges in the New York Southern District court for possession and distribution of child abuse images.

Schulte, who has launched a Web page to raise money for his defense and post articles critical of the criminal-justice system, claims that he initially provided assistance to the FBI's investigation. Authorities allegedly found evidence of child pornography on a server Schulte possessed, a server 50 to 100 people were able to access.

"As part of their investigation, they obtained numerous search warrants for Mr. Schulte's phone, for his computers, and other items, in order to establish the connection between Mr. Schulte and the WikiLeaks leak". According to court papers, Schulte was aware of encrypted conversations where users were sharing images of children, Schulte even warned one user "Just don't put anything too illegal on there".

The implication of the Tor claims is that Schulte would only have used it if he had something to hide. That's not going to be much of a defense, however, when Schulte comes to trial - and he should be very anxious about his prospects in court.

"This case has been dragging since August 2017", Ms. Shroff said in an interview. The FBI believed that Mr. Schulte was involved in that leak. Early court documents filed in Schulte's case referred to documents found on his computer that may have included classified information.

Known as "Vault 7", WikiLeaks exposed critical Central Intelligence Agency documents revealing secret cyber weapons and spying techniques used by, and now potentially against, the Central Intelligence Agency. Prosecutors, meanwhile, said in court last week that they plan to file a new indictment in the next 45 days. "Are they charging him with espionage?" It's been almost a year since investigators put Schulte in their crosshairs; they've had access to this data for a long time, and custody of Schulte for five months after he violated the terms of his bail release.