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US Identifies Suspect in Leak of CIA Hacking Tools

16 May 2018

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.

On Friday, Manhattan federal prosecutor Matthew Laroche estimated in court that charges against Schulte are 45 days away.

Schulte's lawyers have argued that he simply ran a public server and had no idea as to the contents of the encrypted container.

That cache would eventually be disclosed as the "Vault 7" data dump.

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Schulte's connection to the leak investigation has not been previously reported.

Since he's been jailed, Schulte has created a Facebook page where he posts articles criticizing the criminal justice system. But that failed to provide the evidence that prosecutors needed to indict Schulte with illegally giving the information to WikiLeaks. They conducted a number of search warrants on the defendant's residence.

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. However, prosecutors have publicly revealed Schulte to be a key suspect in the Vault 7 leaks after seizing computer equipment, notebooks and handwritten notes from his apartment. Schulte's attorneys have said that Tor is used for all kinds of communications and have maintained that he played no role in the Vault 7 leaks.

Rather, he is being charged with operating a server that contained a 54GB container of child abuse content (we're not going to label it as "pornography" out of respect for adult entertainment performers). He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

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The prime suspect in the leak of a trove of stolen Central Intelligence Agency documents that appeared on WikiLeaks previous year has been identified as a Manhattan man who is behind bars even though he hasn't been charged in the case. He was in the CIA for the development of a computer code to the intelligence of foreign adversaries.

Schulte said in the statement that he joined the intelligence community to fulfill what he saw as a patriotic duty to respond to the attacks of September 11, 2001. The statement said he later reported "incompetent management and bureaucracy" at the CIA to the agency's inspector general and a congressional oversight committee. The documents themselves covered a period from 2013 to 2016, when Schulte had been employed at the agency.

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)'.

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US Identifies Suspect in Leak of CIA Hacking Tools