Ex-CIA employee identified as suspect in 'Vault 7' leaks

John A. Schulte is facing a child pornography charge but is also accused of leaking classified CIA documents to Wiki Leaks last year

John A. Schulte is facing a child pornography charge but is also accused of leaking classified CIA documents to Wiki Leaks last year

He is suspected of passing classified information to the WikiLeaks website.

Authorities appeared to piece together several bits of information to come up with the theory Schulte is responsible for the leak. The documents allegedly revealed details about the Toolkit of American cyber espionage. 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.

The CIA said that the WikiLeaks cables about the hacker's methods of surveillance of the users may damage the capabilities of the intelligence community.

The software engineer, who denies the charges, is now being held in a Manhattan jail after violating his bail terms.

At a January 8 hearing, Schulte's attorneys argued that they did not contest his detention, based on their understanding that Schulte would be sent to Virginia, pursuant to a warrant. However, the search failed to turn up evidence prosecutors need to indict Schulte on the leaking charges, according to The Washington Post, which was first to report the news. Prosecutors say they plan to file a new indictment in the next 45 days. Lawyers for Schulte say dozens of people has access to the server he started in 2009.

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Schulte's lawyers have argued that he simply ran a public server and had no idea as to the contents of the encrypted container.

Both the Central Intelligence Agency and the United States justice department are yet to comment. He maintained the agency targeted him because he was the only member of his team to leave the agency after reporting "incompetent management" to the CIA's inspector general. The documents themselves covered a period from 2013 to 2016, when Schulte had been employed at the agency.

"Due to these unfortunate coincidences the Federal Bureau of Investigation ultimately made the snap judgment that I was guilty of the leaks and targeted me", Schulte said.

Schulte said he had also been planning a vacation with his brother to Cancun, Mexico, which may have given the appearance that he was trying to flee the country. Following the search of his apartment in March 2017, prosecutors waited six months to bring the child pornography charges. And I would disagree with the defense counsel's characterization that those search warrants haven't yielded anything that is consistent with his involvement in that disclosure.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Laroche contended that either Schulte or his cousin were also using Tor, the anonymizing browser that offers more privacy when browsing the internet, conducting online chats or transferring data.

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