A suspect has been identified in one of the CIA’s most significant leaks in its history: Joshua Adam Schulte.
Schulte, 29, worked for the CIA Engineering Development Group, which designs computer code to spy on foreign adversaries, The Washington Post reported. He leaked the information to WikiLeaks, which published it in March 2017 under the label “Vault 7.”
Current and former intelligence officials told The Washington Post that the classified information exposed “secret cyberweapons and spying techniques that might be used against the United States.” Some officials said the Vault 7 leak was more damaging than the information previously leaked by Edward Snowden.
Although Snowden leaked details about America’s abilities to spy on computers and phones worldwide, Vault 7 revealed how it’s done.
In spite of Schulte being identified as the primary suspect in this leak, Matthew Laroche, an assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, said there is no indictment, according to The Washington Post. He said Schulte “remains a target of that investigation,” according to a court transcript of the Jan. 8 hearing.
Schulte’s background shows several areas of concern when it comes to holding a security clearance. Even if he ultimately is not charged with the information leak, other elements of his past suggest that he likely won’t maintain his security clearance.
The government’s decision to deem candidates eligible to access classified information considers factors that could cause a conflict of interest and place a person in the position of having to choose between his or her commitment to the United States, including the commitment to protect classified information, and any other compelling loyalty.
Authorities searched Schulte’s home in 2017 and arrested him on charges of “possessing receiving, and transporting child pornography, according to an indictment filed last September,” The Mercury News reported. He pleaded not guilty.
Authorities also located images on Schulte’s phone of a woman being sexually assaulted while “passed out on the floor” of his bathroom, Newsweek reported. It is believed that the images dated back to April 2015 in Loudoun County, Virginia. The woman was Schulte’s former roommate.
Prosecutors said that his crimes “show that the defendant is someone who will act out on his impulses and actually engage in sexually dangerous behavior,” according to Newsweek.
The Adjudicative Guidelines for Determining Eligibility for Access to Classified Information address such behavior in Guideline D- Sexual Behavior. One’s sexual behavior becomes a security concern if it involves a criminal offense, indicates a personality or emotional disorder, may subject the individual to coercion, exploitation, or duress, or reflects lack of judgment or discretion.
Guideline E- Personal Conduct often is applied in similar situations. Conduct involving questionable judgment, untrustworthiness, unreliability, lack of candor, dishonesty, or unwillingness to comply with rules and regulations raises concerns that a clearance holder may not properly protect classified information.
Problems continue to follow Schulte. Manhattan federal prosecutors complained in court on May 21 that Schulte is sharing information leading to his 2017 arrest with members of the media – from prison, the New York Post reported.
It remains to be seen whether prosecutors will formally charge Schulte with the information leak.
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