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Suspect Identified In CIA 'Vault 7' Leak (nytimes.com) 106

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The New York Times: In weekly online posts last year, WikiLeaks released a stolen archive of secret documents about the Central Intelligence Agency's hacking operations, including software exploits designed to take over iPhones and turn smart television sets into surveillance devices. It was the largest loss of classified documents in the agency's history and a huge embarrassment for C.I.A. officials. Now, The New York Times has learned the identity of the prime suspect in the breach (Warning: source may be paywalled; alternative source): a 29-year-old former C.I.A. software engineer who had designed malware used to break into the computers of terrorism suspects and other targets.

F.B.I. agents searched the Manhattan apartment of the suspect, Joshua A. Schulte, one week after WikiLeaks released the first of the C.I.A. documents in March last year, and then stopped him from flying to Mexico on vacation, taking his passport, according to court records and family members. The search warrant application said Mr. Schulte was suspected of "distribution of national defense information," and agents told the court they had retrieved "N.S.A. and C.I.A. paperwork" in addition to a computer, tablet, phone and other electronics. But instead of charging Mr. Schulte in the breach, referred to as the Vault 7 leak, prosecutors charged him last August with possessing child pornography, saying agents had found the material on a server he created as a business in 2009 while he was a student at the University of Texas.

Suspect Identified In CIA 'Vault 7' Leak

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  • by bigman2003 ( 671309 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @05:23PM (#56617240) Homepage

    In the world of electronic data, nothing worse than taking from the CIA and NSA.

    Well, there is something worse...kiddie porn.

    That takes away all sympathy he may get from people.

    Hold him for the smut, but send him to a dark hole for the rest of it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @05:29PM (#56617270)

      Yeah, cuz it's not like they wouldn't PLANT child porn on his computer to incriminate him, would they?

      • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @05:53PM (#56617370) Journal

        That certainly could be. Also, he says that he gave 50-100 people access to his server, so they could share files. Any of those people could have dumped alt.binaries.porn.lolita there. His legal liability would be questionable.

        Or it could have been something like The Fappening and included pictures of people like McKayla Maroney or Liz Lee, who were under 18 at the time. There are a lot of ways a computer nerd could end up with a big stash of porn, possibly downloaded by a script, and have that large stash include a number of under 18 images, even if they didn't intend to.

        Published reports from early in the investigation also mention that he used Tor. Surfing around on Tor one might encounter illegal material without actively looking for it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Really. "Finding" CP is such a cliche. Next he'll commit suicide by shooting himself in the back of his head several times.

      • If they were going to plant evidence, why not plant the evidence they'd need to convict him of leaking?
        • Because then they have to have a trial exposing 1) confidential CIA material and 2) how shoddy CIA's security was to allow him to steal all the information. Plant the CP and he goes to jail without exposing the CIA.

          • So then where are the CP charges against Reality Winter?

            The courts have mechanisms for dealing with classified information, It seems far more likely that the CP charges aren't expected to stick, as he has a reasonable defense, but will keep him put while investigators build an espionage case.

      • by dlkwnt ( 521328 )
        So they faked the chat transcripts too?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Given that he's accused of taking from the worlds two best hacking organizations...

      I doubt a jury will find it convincing that all the "evidence" of kiddie porn is legit.

      How easy is it for the CIA and NSA to fabricate any kind of electronic evidence they want?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yeah, I'm sure they "found" this on his computer.

      It's very convenient.

      • That's my point. Evidently my post wasn't clear enough for the conspiracy crowd.

        When you are hunting someone down for doing something that...well, maybe it isn't even illegal, but you really want them to stop- you charge them with kiddie porn.

        Nobody supports a pedophile. They (NSA etc) know that. So they use it.

        • New strategy, embed CP into all archive binaries of CIA folders using stenography. This way anyone stealing CIA documents are immediately guilty of distributing CP. It makes a convenient cover to keep the security content redacted while prosecuting a crime with evidence less compromising to security.

          If I just thought of this, surely its been dreamed up at peast 100 times by people eay more devious than me.

    • by msauve ( 701917 )
      "Hold him for the smut, but send him to a dark hole for the rest of it."

      Well, that's a rush to judgment.

      Nothing in the summary or article indicates he illegally took anything from the CIA or NSA. There's this:

      agents told the court they had retrieved "N.S.A. and C.I.A. paperwork" in addition to a computer, tablet, phone and other electronics.

      Having "computer, tablet, phone and other electronics" at home is extremely common, as is having work related paperwork. Note they didn't claim that it was secret stuf

    • They did this to Matt DeHart.

    • The gift that keeps on giving ... power to government.

      Nothing at all suspicious about charges that never need to be proven because the public is forbidden from seeing the evidence. Nothing at all suspicious about a crime where, if evidence were needed, it could easily be faked.

      Move along, nothing to see here. Unless you want to go to jail, that is?

  • Planted evidence (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @05:31PM (#56617280)
    That's the most likely explanation.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      The most likely explanation is he was a lot more adept at hiding his most recent crime than one he did in the past. So they got him for the one in the past.
    • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @06:03PM (#56617406)

      They also "found" a baggie of Longbottom Green behind his toaster.

      The state has a *serious* PR problem if that's the first think straight people like me think of.

  • Give him a medal (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    He deserves a medal for degrating the government's ability to perpetrate more inside jobs. Giving aid and comfort to the feds make you an accessory to mass murder.

    Rules are rules are rules are rules.

    AE911Truth org

    • At the very least, physical lockouts and uncorruptable logging of all access to verify against a warrant is woefully absent.

      It's the agent with access secretly working on behalf of a powerful political faction or person, looking into dirt and connections of their political enemies that drove the 4th Amendment's creation.

  • I bet the kiddie porn was the reason he was working for the CIA NSA
    probably found it a long time ago

  • But instead of charging Mr. Schulte in the breach, referred to as the Vault 7 leak, prosecutors charged him last August with possessing child pornography, saying agents had found the material on a server he created as a business in 2009 while he was a student at the University of Texas.

    And if you believe this, I got a bridge for sale. Bullshit. I don't believe this even for an instant. And this is yet another use-case for encryption. It protects you from having evidence planted, as well! This is very obviously a planting of evidence when they couldn't build a real case against the guy. Despicable.

  • So... a traitor AND a nonce?

    These are the morals of Putin, of Chekists, of Russia's ruling elite -- and their dupes and sympathisers in the West. People who would rape children, would also be selfish, sick and depraved enough to betray their homeland and people.

    Death is too good for these people.

    • That word doesn't mean what you think it does.

      1.) No one has declared war against the United States. The last time that happened was the Civil War.

      2.) The United States does not have a list of enemies. The last time that happened was WWII.

      Perhaps the word you're looking for is "espionage." See Snowden for reference.

      Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

      The Congress shall have power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

      • Treason is a thing in peacetime.

        Although we are not in a declared state of war with Russia, Putin's fascist junta has been waging war against America and the West since he first stole power in 2000. We understand Putinist Russia's Nazi-like nature, and some of us understand that Putin's Russia has declared a vicious fascist shadow war on the civilized world. We know about Ukraine, and Syria. We know about MH17 and Smolensk. We know about the apartment bombings and countless other Putinist crimes against hum

        • Doesn't matter.

          1.) No United States citizen has declared war against the United States.

          2.) The United States does not have a list of enemies. They thought about it, years back, but there were several problems:

          A.) Anybody doing business with an enemy would be guilty of treason.

          B.) No allies of the United States could do business with the enemies, either.

          C.) Anyone from a country on the enemy list, within United States borders or standing on United States territories, would be prisoners and would be either de

          • So, are you telling me the Americans and American corporations that did business with the German government during ww2 are doing to face treason charges soon?
            I would have my doubts.

  • I would not be surprised if a lot of "materials" were generated by secret services as well.

    There is always that one crime in the state that is the favorite of the government to make up charges.

  • ... Manning, Snowden, Winner, and now this.

  • The CIA must be about the most evil organisation on the planet. There are really just quasi government thugs working primarily for very big business: arranging overthrows of governments to ensure good trade deals and that the petro dollar is maintained.

  • Wrong order... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @07:11PM (#56617724)
    He did things in the wrong order. You go to a non-extradition country, and THEN you leak what you need to leak. Assuming he leaked anything and isn't just a fall guy for piss-poor security at the CIA.
  • by Ropati ( 111673 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @10:10PM (#56618400)

    What do the Feds have?

    This kid at 20 while a CS student at UT of A sets up a web server in college and give unmonitored access. Some assholes post encrypted (how was that decrypted) porn on the server. That is what the feds are holding him on. They don't have shit. It wasn't his porn and they know it. Add another $10k to his student loans to teach him a lesson.

    What happened?
    CIA was hacked and spectacularly. Got it. I would think it would take a team to accomplish this. How could you get this stuff out the door. One kid walks out with even code snippets after Snowden !? That is really hard to believe. I would have thought the doors were shut. Instead I would have expected a North Korean team pierced the security. They can't brag, so they post.

    CIA investigators need to show progress, they find a kid who left CIA employment (with animosity for poor management, [imagine that]). They raid his place search all his stuff and find nothing. He was locked up and release on bail with instructions not to touch a computer. Give me a break. How can a millennial who makes a living on a computer, live without one. Busted for touching a computer and back in jail. His family is broke trying to defend their son.

    Nothings moving so they sell him to the media as their prime suspect.

    The Feds have nothing, so they are going to ruin another human being to protect their jobs. We wait another 45 days for charges and I bet you there will be no charges. They don't have squat and this kid rots.

    I don't know the the guy, I have no connection to federal cyberspace, but if the entire weight of the federal prosecution system can't find anything but someone else's kiddy porn after holding him for a year, then the entire case is chick shit and Joshua Schulte is going to be burned at the stake by public opinion. My American Citizenship feels stained.

    If anyone puts up a legit website to defend this kid and linked to his parents, they can have my $50.

  • by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Tuesday May 15, 2018 @10:36PM (#56618466) Journal

    Literally right out of 1984.

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