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

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In August a year ago, authorities filed child pornography charges against Schulte, who is in a jail in Manhattan, after claiming to have found 10,000 illicit images on a server that he had set up in 2009 while studying at the University of Texas in Austin.

The embarrassing leaks - the largest data theft in the agency's history - included software that was created to take over iPhones and turn smart TVs into surveillance devices, the paper reported Tuesday. According to the transcript, the evidence immediately made Schulte a target in the leak investigation. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents reportedly searched his Manhattan home a week after the WikiLeaks published its first Vault 7 dispatch in March 2017.

Schulte's lawyers have argued that he simply ran a public server and had no idea as to the contents of the encrypted container. However, prosecutors have publicly revealed Schulte to be a key suspect in the Vault 7 leaks after seizing computer equipment, notebooks and handwritten notes from his apartment.

On the whole, the Vault 7 disclosures are less damaging than their Shadow Brokers counterparts because the WikiLeaks dispatches haven't included potent source code that could be repurposed.

USA federal prosecutor Matthew Laroche detailed the investigation during a January 8, 2018 hearing in a NY federal courtroom. While it was embarrassing for the CIA to lose so many documents, the dump itself provided little in the way of juicy intel: mostly it just showed that, yes, the CIA engages in covert intelligence operations.

He has plead not guilty to the charges.

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.

Schulte's father, Roger, said he was scared to death.

In documents, prosecutors allege that they found a large cache of child pornography on a server that was maintained by Schulte. According to Schulte's LinkedIn page, he also worked for the US National Security Agency as a system engineer, prior to his time at the CIA.

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 imprisoned software engineer told the outlet in a statement that he'd been blamed for the leaks because he'd reported "incompetent management and bureaucracy" at the Central Intelligence Agency to the inspector general.

It is unclear why he has not been charged or cleared in connection with the theft and subsequent leak.

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