United States names suspect in Vault 7 leaks, but unable to file charges


"The government immediately had enough evidence to establish that he was a target of that investigation". A transcript of a court hearing this past January indicates that agents seized phones, computers, and unspecified "top secret government information".

Instead, Schulte was charged last August with three counts of receipt, possession and transportation of child pornography.

The full scope of the case against Schulte is unclear. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

Lawyers for Schulte have repeatedly called for a decision to be made in relation to the accusations he was behind the Vault 7 leak.

Weaver added that the fact the leak could happen was more significant as it came well after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden released masses of documents about the agency's surveillance of American citizens in 2013. Still, the leak underscored the major problem USA intelligence officials were having in securing their arsenal of hacking tools.

According to the report, Schulte worked for the the CIA's engineering development group until 2016, a position that would have given him access to the thousands of agency documents that were handed over to WikiLeaks in 2017. The leak also led to security researchers finding cases of the tools actively infecting governments and companies since at least 2011. The profile shows he took a job at Bloomberg in November 2016.

The leak, which was referred to as "Vault 7", was one of the largest in United States history, but in August, prosecutors separately charged Schulte with possession of child pornography - agents apparently found 10,000 images on a server he built as a business in 2009 while at university in Austin, Texas.

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Why federal investigators haven't formally charged Schulte for the leaking isn't clear.

Last week, prosecutors said in court they planned to file a new indictment in the next 45 days, while his lawyer asked the judge to impose a deadline on any espionage-related charges. Schulte's attorneys have said that Tor is used for all kinds of communications and have maintained that he played no role in the Vault 7 leaks.

Court documents suggest that Schulte was aware of the images and had warned one user not to "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.

Far from leaking classified information, his father said, Mr. Schulte had actually complained about security vulnerabilities at the C.I.A., first to his superiors and later to the agency's inspector general and to a House Intelligence Committee staff member.

Defense attorneys, the NYT said, have asked the court to "impose a deadline on any charges that the government seeks to bring under the Espionage Act for supplying the secret Central Intelligence Agency files to WikiLeaks".