Alleged Vault 7 Leaker Charged With Stealing Gov't Secrets, Child Porn Possession, And Copyright Infringement?

from the kitchen-sink-prosecution dept

The US government has taken down another alleged leaker. Joshua Schulte, a former NSA and CIA operative, had his apartment raided by the feds last March. The raid targeted documents showing Schulte had leaked CIA hacking tools to Wikileaks (the "Vault 7" collection). But it uncovered a whole lot of child porn -- 10,000 images on Schulte's personal computer and his file-sharing server that held another 5 terabytes of data.

The first criminal complaint [PDF] by the DOJ contained nothing but child porn charges. It suggests the former government spook didn't practice much opsec when not on the clock. One IRC chat shows Schulte's aware encryption is sometimes only a temporary deterrent if the government really wants to find out what's been sent or shared. But then he apparently went on to provide the government with some easily-accessible evidence.

Based on my review of those Google Searches, I have learned, among other things, that on a number of occasions in or about 2011 and in or about 2012, SCHULTE appeared to search the Internet for child pornography. For example: (i) on or about April 9, 2011, SCHULTE conducted a Google Search for "child pornography" on at least three occasions; (ii) on or about October 15, 2011, SCHULTE conducted Google Searches for "movie where father videos daughter and friend sex" and "movie where father videos child porn"; and (iii) on or about May 15, 2012, SCHULTE conducted a Google Search for "female teenage body by year."

The recently-released superseding indictment [PDF] really starts stacking the charges. In addition to the child porn charges carried over from the original complaint, the government adds charges related to the leaked hacking tools, including unauthorized access with the intent of gathering classified info and theft of government property.

Then the charges get interesting. Schulte is charged with "causing transmission of a harmful computer program" for allegedly altering an intelligence agency "computer system" to give himself access to restricted areas of the system and cover up any evidence he had accessed these files. Apparently, this alteration resulted in other users being denied access.

There's the expected "lying to the feds" charges (making false statements, obstruction of justice) which show Schulte was very cooperative when being questioned about the child porn but apparently not so much when asked about purloined CIA data.

Rolling past the copy-pasted child porn charges, one reaches the most unexpected charge in the indictment: criminal copyright infringement.

From at least in or about September 2015, up to and including at least in or about August 2017, in the Southern District of New York and elsewhere, JOSHUA ADAM SCHULTE, the defendant, unlawfully, willfully, and knowingly did infringe copyrights by the reproduction and distribution, including by electronic means and by making it available on a computer network accessible to members of the public, during a 180-day period, of ten and more copies and phonorecords, of one and more copyrighted works, which had a total retail value of more than $2,500, to wit, without authorization, SCHULTE maintained a computer server that housed thousands of copyrighted movies, television shows, and audio recordings, which SCHULTE shared with others by electronic means and using the Internet.

This appears to refer to the server Schulte set up for IRC chat buddies. It's mentioned in a couple of chat transcripts and was, until 2017, accessible at cryptm.org. There's plenty archived at the Wayback Machine [click at your own risk, I suppose] but this server seems to be the source of the copyright infringement charge. Whether or not any of these files were actually downloaded isn't clear, but they were uploaded and accessible to site visitors. This short list of a small portion of the files hosted by Schulte on his server was put together by Jason Koebler and Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai of Motherboard.

An archived version of his page there shows that he had files related to chess, an episode of South Park, a copy of The 40 Year Old Virgin, textbooks, C Programming textbooks, and a folder called “Facebook Convos.”

Speaking of Facebook, Schulte was apparently maintaining a diary of his criminal justice system experience. (Spoiler alert: it's unpleasant and broken.) The documents are worth reading for a firsthand look at the federal arraignment process and the unpleasant realities of being sentenced to house arrest (with no internet access privileges) while still supposedly an "innocent" person in the eyes of the Constitution. It does get a little weird when he claims he's only been charged with "victimless" crimes given what he's been charged with (leaking CIA hacking tools, child porn). But nothing's been proven beyond a reasonable doubt at this point, so maybe only the copyright infringement charge that will make the final cut.

As Parker Higgins points out on Twitter, this supremely weird addition should be viewed with apprehension. Copyright infringement happens all the time. Much of it has zero profit motive, but the government is apparently more than willing to selectively enforce this law if it seems it might push someone towards a plea deal and save it the trouble of having to prove its case.


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 9:45am

    BRILLIANT WAY to cast copyright enforcement as the WORST!

    Gotta hand it to you, re-writing minion, this is THE BEST twist EVER at Techdirt, leading up to prediction that other charges are false and will be dropped, but by golly, they'll be able to make copyright infringement stick because it's just so fiendish a notion that people own the works they've done all the work and put all the time into.

    Just a marvel of Techdirt Twisting.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 9:54am

    "Stealing" Gov't Secrets

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 10:23am

    10 to 1 odds he gets a harsher sentence for The 40 Year Old Virgin than for the Vault7 files.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ROGS, 21 Jun 2018 @ 10:48am

    hmmmm.

    Midssing hard drives in every mass shooting event; mass shooter, ranging fro the Coloradojoker,,to Newtown, toStephen Paddock...the FBI working the clock since NSA dumped hay, andneedlesall over the place in 2001-4, and working even harder to stop a FISA SECTION 702 challenge to warrantless wiretapping and parallel construction going back to 2001?

    What could possibly go wrong?

    I mean~ these state level child porn distributor thought they had this one "in the bag"

    A very well hidden bag, targeting pure speech itself, via the poison well of the FBI et alphabeticus, distributing CP, like "kilos of cocaine, hidden in bales of marijuana," as Tech guru Bruce Schneier phrased it....

    Sure...the bad guys just LOVE child porn....received from extremely obvious federal/international porn distributors,who, for SOME REASON.never get indicted....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Matt DeHart..., 21 Jun 2018 @ 11:03am

    Even Emptywheel covered the case of Matt DeHart, framed by FBI/cia with child porn, from their own black ops in Thailand, Maryland,Georgia,Seattle, etc.....

    http://nationalpost.com/matt-dehart-no-longer-felt-safe-after-fbi-raided-his-home-so-he-deci ded-to-visit-the-russian-embassyo

    It doesnt matter what your politics are~ we need to take FBI/NSA/CIA/DHS/DIA/TRIG/ISRAEL out of the child porn distribution industry.....

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 11:08am

    Hard to believe

    You expect me to believe that a person leaking CIA tools is so stupid as to have a stash or kiddie porn for the feds to find when they come knocking on his door looking for a leaker?

    With all the shady crap our government has done I'm more inclined to believe it was planted to ensure he's convicted of something and made to look like a horribly bad person.

    I can hear the investigators planning "You know, if we also bust him for kiddie porn no one will be sympathetic for him like they are towards that asshole traitor Snowden! We are sure to get a promotion for this!"

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      ShadowNinja (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 1:41pm

      Re: Hard to believe

      With all the shady crap our government has done I'm more inclined to believe it was planted to ensure he's convicted of something and made to look like a horribly bad person.

      That was my first thought as well.

      If you want to discredit someone accuse them of having child porn. It doesn't matter if there's no evidence that it's true, it'll ruin their life regardless as everyone shuns them.

      I've actually read about a case where someone tried to wrongly frame a priest of possessing child pornography. The cops quickly figured out the truth and arrested the false accuser within a week (the accuser had planted child porn on the priest's computer by emailing it to them, to make sure that the police found child pornography on his PC).

      Yet despite that public exoneration by the police it didn't matter to the congregation, they demanded the priest be fired for possessing child pornography.

      The priest had to get transferred to a different church over a 6 hour drive away where no one had ever heard of the false accusations against him.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 24 Jun 2018 @ 6:27am

        Re: Re: Hard to believe

        The priest had to get transferred to a different church over a 6 hour drive away where no one had ever heard of the false accusations against him.

        At least he got to keep his job and carry on with his life. For many other people it would have resulted in immediate termination, inability to find another job and a ruined life.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 21 Jun 2018 @ 11:48am

    Copyright, there is NOTHING it can't do.

    Because using it to ramp up multipliers to force plea deals to avoid anyone getting to the real story is the best way to use it.

    Do we think the government really wants to answer how someone got cleared to be NSA & CIA while actively collecting CP?
    Do we think that someone who collects CP never used his work computer?
    (I draw your attention to the numerous stories on the site about idiots who used their work computers for all sorts of illegal things & finally got busted)
    Do we want to hear the hollow explanations about how he managed to walk out with a copy of the most secret tools & then post them online in the open?
    Do we want to here them explain how operatives on these teams that are supposed to be protecting us leaked his families private info & reused passwords?

    This is trying to bury the story before it becomes a thing.

    When the nym online has better OpSec than those working for the CIA/NSA....
    Washington we have a serious fucking problem!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 11:49am

    "Victimless"

    These crimes were "victimless" in much the same way as NSA surveillance is "victimless." None of the victims have proved in court that they were harmed, so they aren't "victims" yet, no matter how bad the offense against them or how much actual harm was done to them in the commission of the offense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 11:57am

    I'll just look up "child pornography" on the internet and get caught by the whatever alphabet soup comes for me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Or....., 22 Jun 2018 @ 11:27am

      Re:

      Google gang stalking and porn deluge.

      The alphabet contractors actively target porn users with free, legal porn, and then, depending on the "value" of the target, inject code into the porn stream, and then, dogporn, scat, war porn, and cp.

      This is the modern compromise operation.

      They used this with great success against WOT targets, from bases as diverse as Maryland, Oman,Phillipines; but also from Israel, and notoriously, Britains RAF Croughton, which one mp almost shut down.

      The FVEY is extremely active distributing cp.

      Sure~ the Russians too~ but we were a democracy, once, with a moral premise, now shattered as FBI/DHS/DEA distributes child porn.

      Google gang stalking and CPS

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bruce C., 21 Jun 2018 @ 1:25pm

    For a minute...

    ...after reading the headline, I thought the feds had found someone crazy enough to claim copyright on child porn. Fortunately it just turns out to be a case of an apparent/alleged multi-level stupidity scheme on the part of the accused. Piracy+child porn+government secrets FTL.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jun 2018 @ 1:38pm

    And here we see another case of what we might call a retard. I know some people here will think "government conspiracy!", but it seems to me, from reading this guys posts(oh god, that was suffering), that this fellow is just that fuckin' dumb.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Kilos In Bales, 22 Jun 2018 @ 10:38am

    lesbian Porn Wars Redux/OpSec is obsolete

    The various agencies have been distributing child pornography since 911, and there are documented links to using this material in terorist recruitment.

    Britain and the Worlds Largedt Child Porn Stash is in the hands of the FBI.

    While Bush and Company primarily targeted the ME and used free pirn as a tool to compromise ME leaders, and others, Obama targeted this material at Tea Party activists, libertarians, and white conservatives.

    But the formula is the same: target non-binary thinkers who challenge NSA privacy rape.

    Sexual compromise is a staple of ALL intel agency playbooks, but because the agencies have access to the pirn stream, and free porn (who controls the porn industry~and why?) Is everywhere, we see this weapinized against dissent, because pirn is THE quintessential "comunity standards"argument that keeps religious theocrats in America in control of the narrative of culture.

    So, the FVEY has been monitoring porn use since the WOT began, and working with various NGOs to distribute it. Think black sites in Mexico, Thailand and Somaly Mam, etc.

    And, there were documented links to how JTRIG, MI, NSA, FBI, etc all were distributing these .materials after 2008 in the domestic environment.

    No smal surprise then, that Schulte fits a profile, created by Obamacrats~white, non binary male, with a stance on Constitutional rights.

    His OpSec is irelevant because as an insider, and whistle .blower, he knows that he has less than CERO privacy, and that EVERY keystroke was monitored.

    The DOXing that we see online now is likely the result of whoever was targeting him~not his actual online life at all, but rather, a demonstration of how one individual has Cero control of framing their own online presence.

    So, in zionist terms, he is a perfect othered person~his libertarianism, like many sex workers, a threat to binary political ocultists.

    And here, in propaganda terms, is the disinformation hit piece, from Motherboard, of all places ....and not, JOSEPH COX did NOT write it:


    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/qvn83q/joshua-schulte-cia-vault-7-wikileaks-opsec

    Child porn is the guaranteed miney shot, and tear jerker whereby western relugious narrative can justify its own holy wars that murder milions of othered children.

    And, there are links to it, and the stalking horse of killing free speech, in order to keep the vreligiously delusional narrative alive, and keep the people in the sheeple pen.

    Professor Ian Walden made a blip in MSM before the .narrative shifted, describing CP as this stalking horse against privacy and spech online back before the full blown silencing that we see today:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/7054432/Terrorism-and-child-pornography-used-to-jus tify-surveillance-society-says-academic.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Jun 2018 @ 5:42pm

    People are still using Google after Snowden's revelations. Sigh!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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