Federal authorities have identified a man who might have been behind the largest known CIA leak in its history, according to court documents.
The FBI raided Joshua Schulte’s New York apartment and arrested him on March 23, two weeks after Wikileaks published over 8,000 CIA documents on March 7, 2017.
Schulte, a former CIA software engineer, has not been charged with a crime related to the WikiLeaks case, but the FBI found over 10,000 images of child pornography while searching his computer and storage devices.
Schulte argued that the child pornography was on a server he created nine years ago to let his friends use to share movies, under the condition they “don’t put anything too illegal on there,” The New York Times reported. Anywhere from 50 to 100 people had the ability to access the server, Schulte argued, implying the pornography could have been put there by someone else, The Washington Post reported.
The FBI’s WikiLeaks investigation is “ongoing” as of January, according to court documents, and Schulte “remains a target of that investigation.” (RELATED: Pamela Anderson Reaches Out To Kanye To Help Julian Assange)
“The material that was taken was taken during a time when the defendant (Joshua Schulte) was working at the agency. The government immediately had enough evidence to establish that he was a target of that investigation,” said prosecutor Matthew Laroche in court. “I would disagree with defense counsel’s characterization that those search warrants haven’t yielded anything that is consistent with his involvement in that disclosure.”
Known as “Vault 7,” WikiLeaks exposed critical CIA documents revealing secret cyber weapons and spying techniques used by, and now potentially against, the CIA.
Laroche accused Schulte of using Tor — a web browser that gives user privacy, anonymity, and security while surfing the web — to transmit classified documents. Part of the investigation “is analyzing whether and to what extent TOR was used in transmitting classified information,” Laroche said in court to Judge Paul Crotty.
Jacob Kaplan, Schulte’s attorney at the time but who no longer represents him, acknowledged that his client used Tor and defended his use of it, saying that he was “conducting research and writing articles about the criminal justice system and what he has been through, and he does not want the government looking over his shoulder and seeing what exactly he is searching. That’s all it is.”
The prosecution team plans to file an indictment in the next 45 days, they said last week in court.
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