US identifies suspect in major CIA leak

A man walks across the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency in the lobby of CIA headquarters in McLean Virginia.                        Alex Wong Getty Images

A man walks across the seal of the Central Intelligence Agency in the lobby of CIA headquarters in McLean Virginia. Alex Wong Getty Images

The U.S. government has identified a suspect in the leak a year ago of a large portion of the CIA's computer hacking arsenal, the cyber-tools the agency had used to conduct espionage operations overseas, according to interviews and public documents. The disclosure constituted one of the largest breaches of classified. According to the transcript, the evidence immediately made Schulte a target in the leak investigation.

Why federal investigators haven't formally charged Schulte for the leaking isn't clear.

The FBI agents managed to obtain multiple computers, servers and storage devices from Schulte's home, including an "encrypted container, approximately 54 GB in size", which held the child pornography.

As CBS News reported past year, the stolen documents describe clandestine methods for bypassing or defeating encryption, antivirus tools and other protective security features meant to keep the private information of citizens and corporations safe from prying eyes. Schulte is now in a Manhattan jail on charges of possessing, receiving and transporting child pornography, after prosecutors allege they found a large cache of child pornography on a server that was maintained by Schulte.

The embarrassing leaks - the largest data theft in the agency's history - included software that was created to take over iPhones and turn smart TVs into surveillance devices, the paper reported Tuesday. He has pleaded not guilty in that case.

According to the New York Times, FBI agents obtained a warrant to search Schulte's apartment in March 2017, a week after WikiLeaks released the first batch of Vault 7 documents, which highlighted how the Central Intelligence Agency tapped into iPhones and smart TVs and turned them into surveillance devices. After quitting the CIA in November 2016 - according to Roger he had complained about security vulnerabilities at the agency - he joined Bloomberg as a software engineer.

With Schulte's lawyers demanding prosecutors come to a decision on Vault 7 charges, officials indicated last week that they'd be filing a new indictment in the next 45 days, the Times stated.

"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 worked 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.

Schulte was arrested in August, but prosecutors have been unable to bring charges against him. They conducted a number of search warrants on the defendant's residence.

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