A grand jury indicted ex-CIA employee Joshua Schulte for stealing and leaking classified information to an organization.

The indictment does not name the organization, but Politico and The New York Times reported the organization is Wikileaks.

In May 2018, reports revealed that U.S. officials identified Schulte as the potential leaker during “a January federal hearing in New York related to child pornography charges brought against” him. From The Washington Post:

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. The former prosecutor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation, also said that if government lawyers acknowledged in a public hearing that Schulte was a target, they probably suspect he acted alone.

In documents, prosecutors allege that they found a large cache of child pornography on a server that was maintained by Schulte. But he has argued that anywhere from 50 to 100 people had access to that server, which Schulte, now 29, designed several years ago to share movies and other digital files.

In a press release, the DOJ stated that this indictment charges Schulte “with the receipt, possession, and transportation of child pornography, as well as criminal copyright infringement” and also accuses Schulte of violating the Espionage Act. From The New York Times:

According to federal court documents, prosecutors said Mr. Schulte illegally obtained classified information in 2016 and then provided it to an organization, WikiLeaks, that posted it online.

Prosecutors also charged him with transmitting malicious computer code and improperly gaining access to a delicate government computer system. The authorities said he granted himself access to the system and tried to conceal his activities. Prosecutors also accused him of copyright infringement.

Prosecutors said the crimes occurred in Virginia, where the C.I.A. is based.

According to The Washington Post, Schulte worked at the NSA before he joined the CIA. He took a job “in the CIA’s Engineering Development Group, which produced the computer code, according to people with knowledge of his employment history as well as the group’s role in developing cyberweapons.”

In March 2017, Wikileaks published almost 9,000 documents from the CIA about the agency’s own malware used to hack into anyone’s electronics and spy on them.

It didn’t take long for the FBI and CIA to launch an investigation for the person who released this information. The FBI searched Schulte’s home in New York. From the DOJ:

In March 2017, members of the FBI had searched SCHULTE’s residence in New York, New York, pursuant to a search warrant and recovered, among other things, multiple computers, servers, and other portable electronic storage devices, including Schulte’s personal desktop computer (the “Personal Computer”). On the Personal Computer, FBI agents found an encrypted container (the “Encrypted Container”), which held over 10,000 images and videos of child pornography. The Encrypted Container with the child pornography files was identified by FBI computer scientists beneath three layers of password protection on the Personal Computer. Each layer, including the Encrypted Container, was unlocked using passwords previously used by SCHULTE on one of his cellphones. Moreover, FBI agents identified Internet chat logs in which SCHULTE and others discussed their receipt and distribution of child pornography. FBI agents also identified a series of Google searches conducted by SCHULTE in which he searched the Internet for child pornography.

In March, the DOJ charged FBI agent Terry Albury under the Espionage Act for leaking information about how the FBI handles informants to The Intercept and for keeping classified information with him at his home.

In June 2017, the DOJ charged NSA contractor Reality Winner for mailing The Intercept documents that showed “Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before” the November 2016 presidential election.

[Featured image via CIA]


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