Ex-CIA employee in leak probe 'deeply saddened'

Joshua Schulte CIA leak Vault 7

Ex-CIA employee in leak probe 'deeply saddened'

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".

It's unclear why Schulte has not been charged or cleared in the breach. Instead, authorities charged him in August with possessing and transporting child pornography. He has pleaded not guilty. His attorneys have also denied he had any involvement in the Vault 7 leak. In March 2017, the officials were already smarting from an unprecedented leak of National Security Agency software exploits seven months earlier by a mysterious group calling itself the Shadow Brokers.

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 U.S. intelligence officials. Still, the leak underscored the major problem U.S. intelligence officials were having in securing their arsenal of hacking tools.

Schulte is being held without bail on child pornography charges brought against him in Manhattan federal court.

A former federal prosecutor who is not connected to the case said that it is not unusual to hold a suspect in one crime on unrelated charges and that the months Schulte has spent in jail do not necessarily mean the government's case has hit a wall. Still, the article said, Schulte advised one user, "Just don't put anything too illegal on there".

Schulte said in the statement that he joined the intelligence community to fulfill what he saw as a patriotic duty to respond to the attacks of September 11, 2001.

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.

Those materials were dumped on the internet in what WikiLeaks claimed was the largest-ever publication of confidential Central Intelligence Agency documents, much of which pertained to electronic surveillance and cyber weapons.

The Post reports that federal prosecutors obtained a search warrant previous year for personal computers and hand-written notes from Schulte's apartment, but that investigators didn't find any evidence linking Schulte to the disclosure. No charges have been filed against him, and his defense lawyers have insisted he was not involved.

On Friday, Manhattan federal prosecutor Matthew Laroche estimated in court that charges against Schulte are 45 days away.

Latest News