In weekly on-line posts final yr, WikiLeaks launched a stolen archive of secret paperwork in regards to the Central Intelligence Agency’s hacking operations, together with software program exploits designed to take over iPhones and switch sensible tv units into surveillance gadgets.
It was the biggest loss of categorised paperwork in the company’s historical past and an enormous embarrassment for C.I.A. officers.
Now, The New York Times has discovered the id of the prime suspect in the breach: a 29-year-old former C.I.A. software program engineer who had designed malware used to interrupt into the computer systems of terrorism suspects and different targets.
F.B.I. brokers searched the Manhattan condominium of the suspect, Joshua A. Schulte, one week after WikiLeaks launched the primary of the C.I.A. paperwork in March final yr, after which stopped him from flying to Mexico on trip, taking his passport, in accordance with courtroom information and members of the family. The search warrant utility stated Mr. Schulte was suspected of “distribution of national defense information,” and brokers instructed the courtroom that they had retrieved “N.S.A. and C.I.A. paperwork” in addition to a pc, pill, cellphone and different electronics.
But as a substitute of charging Mr. Schulte in the breach, known as the Vault 7 leak, prosecutors charged him final August with possessing baby pornography, saying brokers had discovered the fabric on a server he created as a enterprise in 2009 whereas he was a pupil on the University of Texas.
Court papers quote messages from Mr. Schulte that counsel he was conscious of the encrypted photographs of kids being molested by adults on his pc, although he suggested one person, “Just don’t put anything too illegal on there.”
In September, Mr. Schulte was launched on the situation that he not go away New York City, the place he lived with a cousin, and preserve off computer systems. He was jailed in December after prosecutors discovered proof that he had violated these guidelines, and he has been held on the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan since then. He has posted on Facebook under a pseudonym a series of essays crucial of the felony justice system.
It is unclear why, greater than a yr after he was arrested, he has not been charged or cleared in reference to Vault 7. Leak investigators have had entry to digital audit trails contained in the C.I.A. that will point out who accessed the recordsdata that have been stolen, and so they have had possession of Mr. Schulte’s private information for a lot of months.
His attorneys have repeatedly demanded that prosecutors decide on the Vault 7 leak costs. Prosecutors stated in courtroom final week that they plan to file a brand new indictment in the following 45 days, and Mr. Schulte’s lawyer, Sabrina P. Shroff of the federal public defender’s workplace, requested the courtroom to impose a deadline on any costs that the federal government seeks to carry beneath the Espionage Act for supplying the key C.I.A. recordsdata to WikiLeaks.
“This case has been dragging since August 2017,” Ms. Shroff stated in an interview. “The government should be required to indict so Mr. Schulte has the opportunity to defend himself. Otherwise he is just languishing.”