Prosecutors Unable to Bring Charges Against Suspected WikiLeaks ‘Vault 7’ Source
After naming a suspect in the Central Intelligence Agency top-secret leaks published by WikiLeaks, it was revealed that prosecutors have been unable to find any evidence linking him to the “Vault 7” publication.
Joshua Adam Schulte, 29, worked in the CIA’s Engineering Development Group and has now been named as a suspect in the leaking of information related to cyber-tools being used for espionage operations.
WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 leak in March 2017.
The leak revealed that the CIA hoarded vulnerabilities (“zero days”), and used malware to target operating systems, iPhones, Androids, and smart TVs.
“There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber ‘weapons’. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such ‘weapons’, which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of ‘Year Zero’ goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective,” WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange said in a statement at the time of the disclosure.
Schulte is now the only suspect who has been named, but they have nothing on him. The entire basis appears to be that he had complained to Congress about the abuses.
“But despite months of investigation, Schulte has not been indicted for any charge related to the leaks, which represented the one of the largest unauthorized releases of CIA information in history,” the Hill reports.
The suspect’s home was searched last year with prosecutors seizing handwritten notes and electronic devices, yet they have still come up empty handed.
“Those search warrants haven’t yielded anything that is consistent with [Schulte’s] involvement in that disclosure,” assistant U.S. attorney Matthew Laroche told a court in January.
At the time, Laroche said that Schulte remains a target of the investigation despite their lack of findings.
“Part of that investigation, Laroche said, was analyzing whether a technology known as Tor, which allows Internet users to hide their location, ‘was used in transmitting classified information,’” the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
The prosecution alleges that the suspect was using Tor at his home, but could not find evidence that he used it to transmit the leaked material.
Schulte is currently facing child pornography charges and has been held in custody in Manhattan awaiting trial since September. He has pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution claims that they found the child pornography on a public file sharing server maintained by Schulte, but he maintains that somewhere between 50 and 100 people had access to it.
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. https://t.co/GS3BZ07TvO
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) May 15, 2018
“Schulte, who also worked for the National Security Agency before joining the CIA, left the intelligence community in 2016 and took a job in the private sector, according to a lengthy statement,” the Post reports.
In the statement, Schulte asserted 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.’”