United States identifies suspect in major leak of Central Intelligence Agency hacking tools

Joshua Schulte CIA leak Vault 7

Joshua Schulte CIA leak Vault 7

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.

The newspaper reported for the first time that the suspect is Joshua Adam Schulte, a former Central Intelligence Agency employee.

The Post reports that federal prosecutors obtained a search warrant past 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.

"Due to these unfortunate coincidences the Federal Bureau of Investigation ultimately made the snap judgement that I was guilty of the leaks and targeted me", Schulte told the Post for the story published Tuesday.

Schulte, has not faced charges in the breach, though prosecutors have charged him in a separate child pornography case.

It's unclear why Schulte has not been charged or cleared in the breach.

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According to his family and his LinkedIn page, Mr. Schulte did an internship at the National Security Agency while working on a bachelor's degree in computer engineering. He states that he "developed a multitude of Quick Reactions Capabilities (QRCs) in C/C++ for both Windows and Linux systems to support clandestine operations".

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. It was then a series of unlucky coincidences, he said, that led the government to focus in on him as a suspect in the leak investigation.

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. He left the agency in November 2016 and moved to NY to work for Bloomberg L.P.as a software engineer. The government immediately had enough evidence to establish that he was a target of that investigation. They conducted a number of search warrants on the defendant's residence. And I would disagree with the defense counsel's characterization that those search warrants haven't yielded anything that is consistent with his involvement in that disclosure.

Schulte was released on the condition that he not leave the Big Apple and don't use computers.

Prosecutors said in court last week that they plan to file a new indictment in the next 45 days.

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