CIA Employee Charged With ‘Vault 7’ Data Leak

MANHATTAN (CN) – A former CIA employee who has been in jail for months on child-porn charges was hit with a new indictment Monday night related to the 2017 leak of the agency’s hacking tools.

WikiLeaks published the classified materials in a March 7, 2017, document dump it dubbed “Vault 7.” Prosecutors say 29-year-old Joshua Adam Schulte was the leaker, having stolen the documents during his CIA employment in 2016.

Though Schulte is set to be arraigned on the leak charges before U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty in Manhattan, he has been held in federal detention for the last six months. No date has been set for Schulte’s arraignment, and a copy of his indictment is not yet public.

A Manhattanite himself, Schulte was arrested on Aug. 24, 2017, for allegedly receiving, possessing and transporting child pornography. Schulte was kept in detention for several weeks after his arrest but Crotty authorized a $250,000 bail on Sept. 14, shortly after Schulte’s federal indictment.

Crotty revoked his bail on Dec. 14, however, after Schulte was arrested pursuant to a warrant in Loudoun County, Virginia, on new charges of sexual assault.

Prosecutors explained in a letter to Crotty that the Virginia charges were premised on a several photographs recovered from Schulte’s cellphone after his August arrest. The photos show a woman who used to be Schulte’s roommate in an unconscious state being sexually assaulted by the hands of an unknown individual.

Prosecutors also told Crotty that Schulte had been using the internet while out on bail, in violation of his bail conditions.

“Data from the broadband account shows that on November 16, 2017, the broadband account was used to access the ‘TOR’ network, that is, a network that allows for anonymous communications on the Internet via a worldwide network of linked computer servers, and multiple layers of data encryption,” the letter states. “The Broadband Account shows that additional TOR connections were made again on November 17, 26, 30, and December 5.”

Schulte’s superseding indictment includes the original trio of child-pornography counts plus 10 new counts related to the leak. WikiLeaks is not named in the indictment.

Prosecutors say Schulte illegally gathered and transmitted national defense information, accessed a computer without authorization to obtain classified information, stole government property, lied to FBI, obstructed justice, and committed copyright infringement.

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman explained in a statement that Schulte’s child pornography was discovered during the course of the leak investigation. During a March search of Schulte’s New York residence, the FBI recovered a personal desktop computer that included an encrypted folder containing more than 10,000 images and videos of child pornography, according to a statement by the Justice Department.

“The Encrypted Container with the child pornography files was identified by FBI computer scientists beneath three layers of password protection on the Personal Computer,” the statement continues. “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.”

Three attorneys have withdrawn as counsel for Schulte since his original indictment. They are Jacob Kaplan of Brafman & Associates, Kenneth Smith and Quinn Emanuel attorney Alexander Shapiro.

Sabrina Shroff of the Federal Defenders was appointed as counsel for Schulte this past March. She has not answered an email seeking comment.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Sidhardha Kamaraju and Matthew Laroche also have not answered an email.

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