FBI Has Suspect in Damaging CIA Leak of Spying Code


The identity of the suspected Vault 7 leaker, which detailed the capabilities of USA 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.

Instead of charging Schulte for the leak, prosecutors ended up charging him in August 2017 with possessing, receiving and transporting child pornography after investigators stated they'd found porn content on a server he'd created in 2009. He denies those charges, saying the server the material was discovered on was available for use by as many as 100 other people. After quitting the CIA in November 2016 - according to Roger he had complained about security vulnerabilities at the agency - he joined Bloomberg as a software engineer. The former prosecutor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation, also said that if government lawyers acknowledged in a public hearing that Schulte was a target, they probably suspect he acted alone.

With more than 8,000 CIA documents published to date, according to a defense attorney at the January hearing, the Vault 7 series came as a major embarrassment to United States intelligence officials. 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.

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The Post reports that federal prosecutors obtained a search warrant a year ago for personal computers and hand-written notes from Schulte's apartment, but that investigators didn't find any evidence linking Schulte to the disclosure.

The CIA declined to comment.

In a statement read by WaPo, Shulte said he joined the Central Intelligence Agency to fulfill a patriotic mission to respond to the September 11 attacks of 2001. He maintained the agency targeted him because he was the only member of his team to leave the agency after reporting "incompetent management" to the CIA's inspector general. This, he alleges, made him appear as a disgruntled employee when he left the spy agency in 2016.

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Why prosecutors haven't filed charges against Schulte remains unclear.

According to Schulte's LinkedIn page, he was an intern at the NSA while studying. Laroche was actually describing a "characterization" by Schulte's attorneys and expressing disagreement.

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