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posted by martyb on Thursday May 17 2018, @07:58AM   Printer-friendly
from the wheels-of-justice-turning-S-L-O-W-L-Y dept.

In weekly online posts last year, WikiLeaks released a stolen archive of secret documents about the Central Intelligence Agency's hacking operations, including software exploits designed to take over iPhones and turn smart television sets into surveillance devices.

It was the largest loss of classified documents in the agency's history and a huge embarrassment for C.I.A. officials.

Now, the prime suspect in the breach has been identified: a 29-year-old former C.I.A. software engineer who had designed malware used to break into the computers of terrorism suspects and other targets, The New York Times has learned.

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched the Manhattan apartment of the suspect, Joshua A. Schulte, one week after WikiLeaks released the first of the C.I.A. documents in March last year, and then stopped him from flying to Mexico on vacation, taking his passport, according to court records and relatives. The search warrant application said Mr. Schulte was suspected of "distribution of national defense information," and agents told the court they had retrieved "N.S.A. and C.I.A. paperwork" in addition to a computer, tablet, phone and other electronics.

[...] It is unclear why, more than a year after he was arrested, he has not been charged or cleared in connection with Vault 7. Leak investigators have had access to electronic audit trails inside the C.I.A. that may indicate who accessed the files that were stolen, and they have had possession of Mr. Schulte's personal data for many months.

[...] Mr. Schulte's lawyers have repeatedly demanded that prosecutors make a decision on the Vault 7 leak charges. Prosecutors said in court last week that they planned 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.


Also at: BBC, SecurityWeek, and Ars Technica.

Original Submission

Related Stories

Former CIA Software Engineer Joshua Schulte Convicted of Minor Charges, Not Espionage 16 comments

Minor convictions for ex-CIA coder in hacking tools case

A former CIA software engineer accused of stealing a massive trove of the agency's hacking tools and handing it over to WikiLeaks was convicted of only minor charges Monday, after a jury deadlocked on the more serious espionage counts against him.

Joshua Schulte, who worked as a coder at the agency's headquarters in Langley, Virginia, was convicted by a jury of contempt of court and making false statements after a four-week trial in Manhattan federal court that offered an unusual window into the CIA's digital sleuthing and the team that designs computer code to spy on foreign adversaries.

After deliberating since last week, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the more significant charges. They had notified U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty on Friday that they had reached consensus on two counts, but were unable to reach a verdict on eight others.

Previously: Suspect Identified in C.I.A. Leak was Charged, but Not for the Breach

Original Submission

40 Years in Prison for ex-CIA Coder Who Leaked Hacking Tools to WikiLeaks 4 comments

A former CIA programmer was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday for leaking the US spy agency's most valuable hacking tools to WikiLeaks:

Joshua Schulte, 35, was found guilty in 2022 of espionage and other charges in what the CIA called a "digital Pearl Harbor" -- the largest data breach in the history of the intelligence agency.

[...] US District Judge Jesse Furman sentenced Schulte to 40 years in prison for espionage, computer hacking, contempt of court, making false statements to the FBI and child pornography.

Schulte worked for the CIA's elite hacking unit from 2012 to 2016 when he quietly took cyber tools used to break into computer and technology systems, according to court documents.

After quitting his job, he sent them to WikiLeaks, which began publishing the classified data in March 2017.

[...] The leaked data included a collection of malware, viruses, trojans, and "zero day" exploits that, once leaked out, were available for use by foreign intelligence groups, hackers and cyber extortionists around the world, they said.


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by c0lo on Thursday May 17 2018, @08:22AM (6 children)

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 17 2018, @08:22AM (#680659) Journal

    But instead of charging Mr. Schulte in the breach, referred to as the Vault 7 leak, prosecutors charged him last August with possessing child pornography, saying agents had found 10,000 illicit images on a server he created as a business in 2009 while studying at the University of Texas at Austin.

    Heck yeah!
    Security clearance can't detect early offenses.
    The charges for the leaks get nowhere, so let's charge him with whatever. You know it makes sense.

    If, after this and many others, you still have a will to work for US "intelligence", something must be wrong with your thinking process.

    • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Thursday May 17 2018, @01:24PM (3 children)

      by Immerman (3985) on Thursday May 17 2018, @01:24PM (#680706)

      Well, either your thinking process or your ethics. After all, the implied message is "You fuck with us, we'll fuck with you". If you're absolutely fine with turning a blind eye to any evidence of massive massive institutional crimes against humanity and/or the American people you may come across, then there's probably decent money to be made.

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday May 17 2018, @01:36PM (2 children)

        by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 17 2018, @01:36PM (#680708) Journal

        If you're absolutely fine with turning a blind eye ... there's probably decent money to be made.

        Only if you are an adrenaline addict or masochistic (or such an idiot you aren't able to assess the risk you expose yourself to)
        'Cause if they have no qualms in fucking-to-death others they don't know personally, how do you defend yourself if they decide to fuck you when they know you inside out?

        • (Score: 2) by Immerman on Thursday May 17 2018, @02:17PM (1 child)

          by Immerman (3985) on Thursday May 17 2018, @02:17PM (#680718)

          Remind me, what's the track record looking like for the C.I.A. fucking over "good" little drones who help them out and don't do anything to embarrass, undermine, or expose them?

          • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Thursday May 17 2018, @02:22PM

            by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 17 2018, @02:22PM (#680721) Journal

            Well, let me consult their public records, I reckon they released them in an open format even before any FOIA request was raised.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17 2018, @02:27PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 17 2018, @02:27PM (#680727)

      Hmm. Are incels worse than pedophiles now? Why not just call him an incel? Once somebody is accused of being an incel, it's an open-and-shut case, right? Incels should be castrated (unless they want to be castrated of course).

      Actually, why not call Julian Assange an incel? Why keep up with the rapist thing? Nobody believes he's a rapist, but maybe he's an incel!

      Death to incels! Police be upon them!

      • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday May 17 2018, @07:49PM

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Thursday May 17 2018, @07:49PM (#680859) Journal

        Death isn't the way to make incels suffer. Leaving them alone to continue living their lives is.

        I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by c0lo on Thursday May 17 2018, @09:45AM

    by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 17 2018, @09:45AM (#680672) Journal

    Wikileaks tweet []

    US gov says that it suspects a former a young New York CIA officer is WikiLeaks' #Vault7 source--because he complained to Congress of abuse in the CIA--but have no evidence to indict. So they put him in jail on improbable child porn accusations instead.

    WaPo []

    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. That painted him as a disgruntled employee, he said, and when he left the CIA in 2016, suspicion fell upon him as “the only one to have recently departed [the CIA engineering group] on poor terms,” Schulte wrote.

    El Reg []

    Interestingly, court transcripts show that Schulte's team has offered his work with the CIA, and the rigorous screenings that come with it, as arguments in his defense.

    The Motherboard []

    In 2010, when WikiLeaks published diplomatic cables, war logs, and documents about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars provided to it by Chelsea Manning, Schulte was working for the CIA, according to his LinkedIn account. At the same time, he was also following—and commenting—on the news on a pseudonymous Twitter account, where he lashed out at Manning.

    “Kill the prick,” he tweeted commenting on a story about a rally in support of Manning.

  • (Score: 2) by MichaelDavidCrawford on Thursday May 17 2018, @06:31PM

    by MichaelDavidCrawford (2339) Subscriber Badge <> on Thursday May 17 2018, @06:31PM (#680819) Homepage Journal


    I remember something about that

    The person who at the time was Bradley manning wasn't in the same compartment as the diplomailtic cables

    A complaint router would have dropped the packets

    Yes I Have No Bananas. []