FBI Has Suspect in Damaging CIA Leak of Spying Code

CIA Hacking Tools

Welcome to the curious case of Joshua Schulte, the man prosecutors believe leaked the CIA's suite of hacking technology to Wikileaks a year ago.

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. Prosecutors said in court last week that they plan to file a new indictment in the next 45 days, and Mr. Schulte's lawyer, Sabrina P. Shroff of the federal public defender's office, asked the court to impose a deadline on any charges that the government sought to bring under the Espionage Act for supplying the secret C.I.A. files to WikiLeaks.

The Washington Post first reported on Schulte's relation to the case.

Jacob Kaplan, Schulte's attorney at the January hearing, told the court that "the government had full access to his computers and his phone, and they found the child pornography in this case, but what they didn't find was any connection to the WikiLeaks investigation".

Whoever leaked the information apparently sent it to WikiLeaks, where it was published under the name "Vault 7".

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The data dump, which WikiLeaks referred to as "Vault 7", contained 7,818 Web pages and 943 attachments and included more than several hundred million lines of code, providing "the entire hacking capacity of the Central Intelligence Agency". He was in the CIA for the development of a computer code to the intelligence of foreign adversaries. He states that he "developed a multitude of Quick Reactions Capabilities (QRCs) in C/C++ for both Windows and Linux systems to support clandestine operations".

Schulte said he reported security vulnerabilities and "incompetent management and bureaucracy" at the CIA to his superior, the inspector general and a House intelligence committee staff member before leaving the CIA in 2016.

Here's where things get tricky: the government says it does not have enough evidence to charge Schulte with the leak.

Weaver added that the fact the leak could happen was more significant as it came well after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden released masses of documents about the agency's surveillance of American citizens in 2013. "The material was taken during a time when the defendant was working at the agency".

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. And I would disagree with the defense counsel's characterization that those search warrants haven't yielded anything that is consistent with his involvement in that disclosure. "He remains a target of that investigation". 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.

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