Joshua Schulte, the former CIA employee alleged to be behind the Vault 7 leak of the spy agency's trove of hacking tools, has been formally indicted over the leaks in New York.
And according to the Department of Justice, the evidence used to build the case against Schulte was partly down to poor operational security on his part - using the same passwords to unlock his smartphone as he used to secure his PC.
In a joint statement from the US Department of Justice and US Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, the authorities went into more details about the case.
Schulte's PCs, servers and storage devices were seized when FBI agents searched his home in March 2017, a month after Wikileaks released its first tranche of Vault 7 documents.
"FBI agents found an encrypted container, which held over 10,000 images and videos of child pornography. The Encrypted Container with the child pornography files was identified by FBI computer scientists beneath three layers of password protection on the PC," according to the DoJ statement.
It continues: "Each layer, including the Encrypted Container, was unlocked using passwords previously used by Schulte on one of his cellphones.
"Moreover, FBI agents identified Internet chat logs in which Schulte and others discussed their receipt and distribution of child pornography. FBI agents also identified a series of Google searches conducted by Schulte in which he searched the Internet for child pornography."
Schulte was an early suspect in the case with his home searched within a month of Wikileaks going public. He was arrested in August 2017, but initially only charged the following month with possession of images of child abuse.
Now, the authorities have also added several indictments directly linked to their claims that he was behind the leak of the Vault 7 trove of malware tools to Julian Assange's Wikileaks organisation.
Schulte has been indicted on 13 counts, as follows:
- Illegal Gathering of National Defence Information;
- Illegal Transmission of Lawfully Possessed National Defence Information;
- Illegal Transmission of Unlawfully Possessed National Defence Information;
- Unauthorised Access to a Computer to Obtain Classified Information;
- Theft of Government Property;
- Unauthorised Access of a Computer to Obtain Information from a Department or Agency of the US;
- Causing Transmission of a Harmful Computer Program, Information, Code or Command;
- Making False Statements;
- Obstruction of Justice;
- Receipt of Child Pornography;
- Possession of Child Pornography;
- Transportation of Child Pornography; and,
- Criminal Copyright Infringement.
Schulte pleaded not guilty to the charges of possessing, receiving and transporting images of child abuse back in September, a month after his arrest, but at the hearing in January the court was told that the FBI believed Schulte to be behind the Vault 7 leaks.
The malware and other documents, the FBI claims, were stolen in 2016. Schulte also "intentionally caused damage without authorisation to a CIA computer system by granting himself unauthorised access to the system, deleting records of his activities, and denying others access to the system", according to the US Department of Justice.
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