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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.

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  • (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.

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