USA names suspect in Vault 7 leaks, but unable to file charges

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

At the time of the leak, people who had worked with that group said that suspicion had mainly focused on contractors, not full-time Central Intelligence Agency employees such as Schulte. The anti-secrecy group published the code under the label "Vault 7" in March 2017.

There's one problem, though: investigators haven't been able to collect enough evidence to file charges against Schulte despite having searched his apartment and confiscated his personal computer and notes.

The New York Times first identified Schulte as a target. While it was embarrassing for the CIA to lose so many documents, the dump itself provided little in the way of juicy intel: mostly it just showed that, yes, the CIA engages in covert intelligence operations. The NYT said that court papers quote messages that suggest Schulte knew of encrypted images on his computer showing children being molested by adults.

Schulte has not been charged in connection with the breach, but is instead being held on child pornography charges in New York City, according to court documents. Prosecutors said in court last week they plan to file a new indictment in the next 45 days, according to the Times. Schulte said 50 to 100 people had access to the server, created to share movies and other files.

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Schulte worked at the agency as a software engineer who helped design malware used to break into the computers of terrorism suspects and other targets.

The CIA is not commenting on the latest developments.

Why federal investigators haven't formally charged Schulte for the leaking isn't clear. The statement said he later reported "incompetent management and bureaucracy" at the CIA to the agency's inspector general and a congressional oversight committee. The documents themselves covered a period from 2013 to 2016, when Schulte had been employed at the agency.

"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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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.

Schulte, who has launched a Web page to raise money for his defense and post articles critical of the criminal-justice system, claims that he initially provided assistance to the FBI's investigation.

Schulte was arrested in August, but prosecutors have been unable to bring charges against him. Laroche was actually describing a "characterization" by Schulte's attorneys and expressing disagreement.

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