US Identifies Suspect in Leak of CIA Hacking Tools

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

Schulte has since been held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan.

The NYT quoted Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in California, as saying that WikiLeaks had magnified the danger posed by the Vault 7 leaks and that the tools were aimed only at small groups of high-value targets.

The leak may have dealt a serious blow to the intelligence agency's operations by exposing the CIA's playbook when it came to hacking computers, phones and smart TVs.

"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 wrote in a statement obtained by the Post.

Prosecutors said Schulte used Tor at his apartment but didn't provide evidence to suggest he did so in order to disclose classified information.

A government prosecutor disagreed with what he called the "characterization" by Schulte's attorney that "those search warrants haven't yielded anything that is consistent with [Schulte's] involvement in that disclosure".

Despite searching the suspect's NY apartment, prosecutors say they now lack the evidence to charge Schulte. He has pleaded not guilty. The archive appears to have been circulated among former US government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

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However despite months of investigation, prosecutors have been unable to bring charges against Schulte for the leak. Authorities allegedly found evidence of child pornography on a server Schulte possessed, a server 50 to 100 people were able to access. He worked in the CIA's Engineering Development Group which designed the hacking tools used by its Centre for Cyber Intelligence.

It is unclear why he has not been charged or cleared in connection with the theft and subsequent leak.

Prior to joining the CIA, Schulte worked for the National Security Agency.

Schulte said in the statement that he joined the intelligence community to fulfill what he saw as a patriotic duty to respond to the attacks of September 11, 2001. 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.

He said the complaints made him appear to be a disgruntled employee and a planned vacation to Mexico with his brother gave the impression he was trying to flee the country.

"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.

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