Joshua Schulte “betrayed this nation” and “violated his victims” when he handed the “full hacking capacity of the CIA” to WikiLeaks. The software engineer was outed as the “whistleblower” behind the devastating “Vault 7” release. Yet, some whistles are better left alone. Schulte knew before he ever signed up that he would be working for the dirty-tricks division. Apparently, ethics are only important to Schulte when it suits him.
The federal Espionage Act charges filed by New York prosecutors on Monday were tacked onto the kiddie porn charges Schulte was already facing. Schulte now faces charges of lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, illegally gathering and transmitting national security information (and child images), and theft of government property.
Schulte poked a much bigger hornet’s nest than he bargained for when he approached Julian Assange.
“The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.”
The CIA leaker did start a debate, and the consensus is that sometimes nations do need advanced spying and hacking tools, just like nukes. As distasteful as the specialized weapons are to use, if America needs them for safety, they must be in operational condition. For them to work, it requires secrecy.
William F. Sweeney, Jr. released a statement Monday. “As alleged, Schulte utterly betrayed this nation and downright violated his victims,” the Assistant New York FBI field director writes.
“As an employee of the CIA, Schulte took an oath to protect this country, but he blatantly endangered it by the transmission of classified information.”
According to court documents, between March and June of 2016, Schulte used an intelligence agency workstation, he had modified to cover his tracks, to steal the info.
“Schulte also intentionally caused damage without authorization to a CIA computer system by granting himself unauthorized access to the system, deleting records of his activities, and denying others access to the system,” Prosecutors note.
Then he lied to cover it up. “Schulte subsequently made material false statements to FBI agents concerning his conduct at the CIA.”
A total of 8,761 documents and files titled “Year Zero” were released as “Vault 7 Part 1.” It was obvious they could only have come from the “isolated, high-security network” at the Central Intelligence Agency’s Center for Cyber Intelligence, located near Langley, Virginia.
The group “designs malware and other hacking tools used by the CIA overseas.”
WikiLeaks started publishing the CIA documents in March of 2017. The leaks “revealed how the CIA had developed custom malware to target iOS and Android devices, routers and smart TVs, as well as Windows, Mac OS X and Linux operating systems.”
The agency was collecting “zero day” vulnerabilities and using them “to gain access to smartphones and monitor encrypted messaging apps” that the CIA could not get into with conventional means.
Using “his access at the agency to transmit classified material to an outside organization” wasn’t the only nasty crime Schulte committed.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman relates, “during the course of this investigation, federal agents also discovered alleged child pornography in Schulte’s New York City residence.”
Family members who paid Schulte’s bail insist the kiddie porn charges are overblown, related to server space he rented out when he was 20. His Public Defender attorney is pressing that line of attack.
“As the evidence is flushed out, it will become clear that Mr. Schulte is hardly the villain the government makes him out to be, Sabrina Shroff insists.
Yet, investigators say there is a lot more to it, indicating recent and intentional involvement.
The FBI reports they “recovered approximately 10,000 child pornography images and videos from a 54 GB encrypted container.”
“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 Justice Department adds.
The cyber-spy was horribly lazy with his own security. “Each layer, including the encrypted container, was unlocked using passwords previously used by Schulte on one of his cellphones.”
More than enough evidence was recovered to prove he “actively sought out” child pornography. “FBI agents identified Internet chat logs in which Schulte and others discussed their receipt and distribution of child pornography.”
He even searched for it on Google. “FBI agents also identified a series of Google searches conducted by Schulte in which he searched the internet for child pornography.”
Schulte’s Linkedin profile indicates he held the Directorate of Science and Technology Intelligence Officer title from May, 2010 until October, 2016 at the CIA’s National Clandestine Service.
Specifically, he worked as part of the CIA’s Engineering Development Group, named in the leaked documents.
Totaling up the penalties on all the crimes Schulte was charged with make him eligible for a prison sentence of up to 135 years.
Schulte had been released on bail pending trial but now he is behind bars after violating the conditions of his parole. He was ordered not to use a computer, so he had his cousin check his email account for him, using a specially encrypted TOR browser.
“So the fact that the defendant is now, while on pretrial release, using Tor from his apartment, when he was explicitly told not to use the internet, is extremely troubling and suggests that he did willfully violate his bail conditions.”
If all of that weren’t bad enough, there is also a sexual assault charge.
The FBI discovered images on his phone “that showed a sexual assault” and notified police in Loudoun County, Virginia. They swore out another warrant for Schulte’s arrest.
“It’s our understanding that they conducted their own investigation, which included interviewing the victim, the person who was on those photographs, and through interviews with that person, they were comfortable, through the development of that evidence, that Mr. Schulte was the one whose hands are on the pictures of that photograph,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Laroche explains.
It’s becoming obvious that this is an evil person.