Man suspected in massive Central Intelligence Agency leak jailed, but not charged
Man suspected in massive Central Intelligence Agency leak jailed, but not charged
Former CIA engineer, 29, facing a child pornography charge is also suspected of leaking devastating secret agency documents to Wikileaks
16 May, 2018, 08:42
The Federal Bureau of Investigation suspects that a former Central Intelligence Agency employee separately charged with possessing child pornography had a role in the unauthorized release of a trove of CIA hacking tools to the WikiLeaks website previous year, according to a court transcript.
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. The disclosure constituted one of the largest breaches of classified. He revealed extraordinary details about the capabilities of the United States to spy on computers and phones around the world, but the Vault 7 leaks showed how such spying is actually done, the current and former officials argued.
Schulte is reportedly being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.
Government prosecutors say Joshua Adam Schulte of NY is a target in the theft investigation. But that failed to provide the evidence that prosecutors needed to indict Schulte with illegally giving the information to WikiLeaks. Schulte's attorney didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
But the prosecutor, Matthew Laroche, an assistant US attorney in the Southern District of NY, said that the government has not brought an indictment, that the investigation "is ongoing" and that Schulte "remains a target of that investigation", according to a court transcript of the January 8 hearing that escaped public notice at the time. 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", Sabrina Shroff, Schulte's lawyer, told the outlet. He's pleaded not guilty to those charges.
Schulte was arrested in August, but prosecutors have been unable to bring charges against him.
Schulte, 29, worked at the Central Intelligence Agency as a software engineer who helped design malware used to break into the computers of terrorism suspects and other targets.
According to the Times, FBI agents said they found images of children being molested by adults on a server Schulte created as a business in 2009 while he was a student at the University of Texas. He denies those charges, saying the server the material was discovered on was available for use by as many as 100 other people.
Why federal investigators haven't formally charged Schulte for the leaking isn't clear.
Since he's been jailed, Schulte has created a Facebook page where he posts articles criticizing the criminal justice system.
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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