A suspect in the leak of classified CIA files last year as part of WikiLeaks Vault 7 series has been charged with possession of child pornography.
A suspect in the case of the CIA Vault 7 leak that was published by WikiLeaks last year has been arrested — but not on charges of leaking classified documents. He instead faces charges of possession of child pornography. The New York Times reports that the suspect in question is a 29-year-old former C.I.A. software engineer named Joshua A. Schulte. Schulte designed malware for the CIA used to hack into terrorism suspects computers.
A week after the leak of the Vault 7 series in March 2017, FBI agents searched Schulte’s apartment in Manhattan, New York, and then stopped him from flying to Mexico, taking his passport. The search warrant for Schulte’s apartment stated that he was being investigated for the “distribution of national defense information.” Agents told the court that during the search they took “N.S.A. and C.I.A. paperwork” along with computers, tablets, phones and an assortment of other electronics.
But rather than charge Schulte in relation to the leak of classified documents, he was charged in August with the possession of child pornography after agents allegedly found 10,000 illicit images of children on a server he created in 2009 during the time he was studying at the University of Texas, Austin. According to court papers, Schulte was aware of encrypted conversations where users were sharing images of children, Schulte even warned one user “Just don’t put anything too illegal on there.”
In September, Schulte was released under the condition that he did not leave New York City and that he stay away from using a computer. He was jailed in December for failing to meet these conditions and has been held in the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan. In the year since he was arrested, Schulte has not been charged with the leak of classified data.
U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Laroche said that “the government immediately had enough evidence” to target Schulte in an investigation but had failed to do so. Schulte’s lawyer Sabrina P. Shroff stated that: “This case has been dragging since August 2017. The government should be required to indict so Mr. Schulte has the opportunity to defend himself. Otherwise he is just languishing.”
Neither the CIA or the Justice Department have commented on Schulte’s detainment but last year during the publication of WikiLeaks Vault 7 series a CIA spokesperson stated: “The American public should be deeply troubled by any WikiLeaks disclosure designed to damage the Intelligence Community’s ability to protect America against terrorists and other adversaries.”