Ex-CIA Agent Suspected In Massive Vault 7 Hacking Tools Leak To WikiLeaks
Every so often, WikiLeaks publishes top-secret documents outlining various hacking tools and malware used by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Most of the documents we have seen are presumably outdated, but for obvious reasons, the CIA would still like to keep them under lock and key. The agency would also like to arrest the person responsible for providing the documents to Wikileaks, and has identified a possible suspect.
That person is Joshua Adam Schulte, a former employee of a CIA group tasked with programming code to spy on foreign threats, The Washington Post reports. Federal prosecutors identified Schulte as a suspect during a hearing in January, noting that he provided WikiLeaks with secret code as part of the whistleblowing group's "Vault 7" collection. However, even after months of investigation, prosecutors have not been able to collect enough evidence to actually bring charges against Schulte.
In lieu of evidence tying Schulte to Vault 7, Schultz is currently being held on child pornography charges, for which he has pleaded not guilty. Authorities searched his apartment in New York last year in hopes of finding evidence of sharing secret documents with WikiLeaks, going through his computers and handwritten notes. What they allegedly found instead, however, was a large collection of child pornography on a server he maintained. Schulte says the server is accessible by at least 50 other people, and perhaps as many as 100.
Schulte worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) before taking employment with the CIA. In a statement related the lawsuit against him, Schulte said felt compelled by the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, to join the intelligence community. He then left the intelligence community in 2016 and started working in the private sector. Before doing so, however, he claims his superiors labeled him as a disgruntled employee because he reported "incompetent management and bureaucracy" at the CIA to the agency's inspector general.
As for Vault 7, it contained documents on everything from hacking Windows XP and Windows 7 PCs, to targeting OS X and Linux, along with mobile operating systems and more. It remains to be seen if prosecutors will ultimately charge Schulte with espionage or anything else related to Vault 7. Either way, the leak is an embarrassing look for the CIA.