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Snowden 2.0: Joshua Adam Schulte
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Photo: Facebook/Joshua Schulte

Snowden 2.0: Joshua Adam Schulte

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NEW YORK — July 1, 2018

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York pressed charges against Joshua Adam Schulte, a 29-year-old former CIA employee. He was charged in a 13-count superseding indictment. His actions were the subject of an ongoing investigation that has been conducted on suspicion of leaking classified data since August 2017.

Schulte’s charges duplicate Edward Snowden’s, a former NSA employee, who leaked classified information to WikiLeaks. The US government charged Snowden with three felonies, including two under the Espionage Act, the 1917 statute. According to the statute, he can face capital punishment.

Patrick Henningsen, an expert in global security, said that the US media are more concerned with the CIA failing to secure its hacking tools, not about why and how these tools are being deployed and for what reason. That is where the conversation needs to be in this story, but it’s not.

“The public doesn't know what its government is up to and what it is spending its money on. And let me add that Vault 7 revealed that the CIA has an operation that is comparable to the NSA in terms of electronic warfare. And that was not known widely before that,” said Henningsen.

The first seven indictment related to the period from March to June 2016. He is accused of hacking and stealing info and sending it to someone, who wasn’t authorized for it. These are:

  1. Illegal gathering of national defense information;
  2. Illegal transmission of lawfully possessed national defense information;
  3. Illegal transmission of unlawfully possessed national defense information;
  4. Unauthorized access to a computer to obtain classified information;
  5. Theft of government property;
  6.  Unauthorized access of a computer to obtain information from a department or agency of the United States;
  7. Causing transmission of a harmful computer program, information, code, or command;

The prosecution believes that Schulte has been putting spokes in the investigation wheel during investigation and presses two more additional charges:

  1. Making False Statements;
  2. Obstruction of justice;

Charges from the tenth to the twelfth concerns child pornography:

  1. Receipt of child pornography;
  2. Possession of child pornography;
  3. Transportation of child pornography;

The last indictment is criminal copyright infringement. Schulte maintained a server that housed thousands of copyrighted movies, TV-shows, and audio recordings. He shared them on the Internet.

Child pornography is an intelligence service’s signature move to sidetrack attention from the essence of a disclosure. Even if Schulte manages to prove his innocence on a charge of leakage, his attorneys will encounter a problem proving the absence of banned data on his PC on the moment of its seizure. The indictment shows that Schulte will go to jail for a long time, even without any proof of the first seven charges.

Any of Schulte’s alleged crimes carries a long time in jail. The prosecution asks for 50 years for the child pornography receipt, possession, dissemination and for up to 10 years for each of other charges. He faces 135 years in prison in total. Sabrina Shroff, his attorney, said that her client took stock of case material only on the morning of June 18th, right before the trial.

The FBI raided Schulte’s New York apartment in March 2017. They confiscated his computers and server equipment. Schulte was arrested on 24 August 2017. He was jailed in the Metropolitan Correctional Center, New York. He bailed in September, but he was taken into custody again in December.

“While the current indictment charges Mr. Schulte with child pornography, this case comes out of a much broader perspective,” defense attorney Jacob Kaplan said to The Washington Times during a January bail hearing. “In March of 2017, there was the WikiLeaks leak, where 8,000 CIA documents were leaked on the Internet. The FBI believed that Mr. Schulte was involved in that leak.”

Schulte said in his statement posted online that he reported “incompetent management and bureaucracy” at the CIA to the agency’s inspector general and to a congressional oversight committee. After he left the agency in 2016 after he was painted as a disgruntled employee. The only reason why suspicion of leaks fell on him, because he was “the only one to have recently departed [the CIA engineering group] on poor terms.”

Schulte said that he cooperated with the FBI and agreed to answer their questions, but house-check accompanied with seizure of his computers and half-year later child porno charges convinced him that it would be a frame-up.

The Department of justice did not directly name WikiLeaks in case material. Now, it is called “Organization-1”. However, the investigation and attorneys comments indicates that this is all about so called “Vault 7,” which was published on WikiLeaks on March, 7th 2017.

Intelligence officials told The Washington Post that the “Vault 7” leak was, “one of the most significant and potentially damaging leaks in the CIA’s history, exposing secret cyber weapons and spying techniques that might be used against the United States.”

Since Edward Snowden it is the biggest leak that ever happened in special agencies in the US. “Vault 7” contains 8761 documents from the CIA detailing more than 1000 programs of its hacking arsenal.

According to a WikiLeaks press release, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized “zero day” exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

CIA actively developed means for hacking mobile phones, and even “smart TVs.” The CIA could access iPhones, Wi-Fi routers, Cisco network hardware, Android devices, Windows devices including PC. Samsung Smart TV could collect and send to the CIA info about owner, record conversations and life-activity.

Bloomberg points at WikiLeaks connection with “Russian hackers”, who, as the Bloomberg believes, influenced 2016 Presidential elections. Russian ambassador said in his interview to CBS "There is not any proof regarding Russian interference into your election." Antonov told CBS News he wants to collaborate on cybersecurity. So far, the U.S. has not taken up that offer.

Joshua Adam Schulte refused to continue cooperation with investigators and denies all the charges he is indicted on.

Author: USA Really