Gov't Says Accused CIA Hacking Tools Leaker Leaking Even More Classified Info From Behind Bars
from the I-guess-he's-just-on-a-roll... dept
The DOJ is still waiting for accused Vault 7 leaker Joshua Shulte’s trial to begin, but that’s not stopping it from adding to the long list of charges he already faces. The former NSA/CIA operative’s house was raided last year by the feds who were looking for evidence of Shulte’s leak of CIA hacking tools to Wikileaks. It found some of that, but also found 10,000 child porn images in the 5+ terabytes of data seized.
The child porn alone will likely see Shulte put away for a long time if the prosecution can secure a conviction. Leaking top secret tools isn’t likely to be greeted with a wrist slap — not with the forever War on Leakers still in progress. For some reason, the government felt compelled to add copyright infringement to the list of charges after discovering a few pieces of pirated content on Shulte’s personal server.
Shulte — who is locked up in a New York detention facility until he goes to trial — must figure he has nothing to lose. That’s one conclusion that can be drawn from the latest set of charges being brought by the DOJ. (via Slashdot)
According to new court documents filed late Wednesday, October 31, US prosecutors plan to file three new charges against Joshua Schulte for allegedly leaking more classified data while in detention at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC).
The filing [PDF] is quite the read. According to the allegations, Shulte had access to multiple smuggled cellphones and was using them to disseminate classified info to “third parties” outside the prison walls. It appears the info Shulte smuggled out of the prison came from classified documents released to him as part of his pre-trial discovery. The DOJ has now stripped him of access to classified documents, restricting him to unclassified info released by the FBI.
A flurry of paperwork and a search of Shulte’s housing unit turned up a number of things, including a new form of encryption.
In or about early October 2018, the Government learned that Schulte was using one or more smuggled contraband cellphones to communicate clandestinely with third parties outside of the MCC. The Government and the FBI immediately commenced an investigation into Schulte’s conduct at the MCC. That investigation involved, among other things, the execution of six search warrants and the issuance of dozens of grand jury subpoenas and pen register orders. Pursuant to this legal process, in the weeks following the Government’s discovery of Schulte’s conduct at the MCC, the FBI has searched, among other things, the housing unit at the MCC in which Schulte was detained; multiple contraband cellphones (including at least one cellphone used by Schulte that is protected with significant encryption); approximately 13 email and social media accounts (including encrypted email accounts); and other electronic devices.
Given the FBI’s recent history, it probably should be more careful when it discusses encryption. A few years of “going dark” narrative was upended by the agency itself, which revealed it could not competently count physical devices in its possession. The ever-inflating number of impenetrable devices was suddenly, and embarrassingly, converted to an asterisk on multiple FBI/DOJ webpages with footnotes stating an updated number would be provided at the agency’s convenience.
Now, there’s this: a DOJ prosecutor relaying the FBI’s message about “significant” encryption — whatever the hell that is — to the federal judge presiding over the case. What makes this particular encryption “significant” isn’t explained, but it does seem to make this encryption appear far more nefarious than the regular, insignificant encryption used by citizens not currently under federal indictment.
Three more charges are headed Shulte’s way, all of them related to unlawful disclosure of classified documents. This isn’t charge stacking — not if the government’s allegations are true — but it could definitely nudge Shulte towards a plea deal that will save the DOJ a lot of time, energy, and arguments over presenting sensitive information in open court.
Then again, Shulte appears to be anything but cooperative. Leaking classified documents directly under the fed’s nose while in supervised detention is a bold move that bears a lot of resemblance to a middle finger extended in the direction of the government. This may end up being a very fun trial to watch.