Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Ex-CIA employee identified as suspect in 'Vault 7' leaks

Ex-CIA employee identified as suspect in 'Vault 7' leaks

The identity of the suspected Vault 7 leaker, which detailed the capabilities of U.S. intelligence agencies to manipulate everyday technologies, was revealed to be 29-year-old Joshua Schulte, a former CIA software engineer who designed malware that could break into the computers of suspected terrorists, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. But that failed to provide the evidence that prosecutors needed to indict Schulte with illegally giving the information to WikiLeaks.

It's unclear why Schulte has not been charged or cleared in the breach.

"Those search warrants haven't yielded anything that is consistent with [Schulte's] involvement in that disclosure", Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew Laroche reportedly told a court in January. That includes the fact they he is believed to have used software called Tor, which allows users to communicate and transmit information over the Internet anonymously, and the fact he was planning a vacation to Cancun, Mexico.

'This case has been dragging since August 2017, ' she told the Times in an interview.

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.

The Post reported Laroche saying at the time that the investigation was still "ongoing" and that the Central Intelligence Agency employee was still a "target".

In documents, prosecutors allege that they found a large cache of child pornography on a server that was maintained by Schulte.

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"This is CIA's Edward Snowden", former CIA acting director Michael Morrell told CBS News Justice correspondent Jeff Pegues past year, referring to the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked millions of documents in 2013.

"Due to these unfortunate coincidences the Federal Bureau of Investigation ultimately made the snap judgment that I was guilty of the leaks and targeted me", Schulte wrote in a statement obtained by the Post.

Far from leaking classified information, his father said, Mr. Schulte had actually complained about security vulnerabilities at the C.I.A., first to his superiors and later to the agency's inspector general and to a House Intelligence Committee staff member. The documents themselves covered a period from 2013 to 2016, when Schulte had been employed at the agency.

"Due to these unfortunate coincidences the Federal Bureau of Investigation ultimately made the snap judgment that I was guilty of the leaks and targeted me", Schulte said.

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.

Schulte was arrested in August, but prosecutors have been unable to bring charges against him.

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