The reports cast him as a disgruntled employee, and when he left the Central Intelligence Agency in 2016, suspicion fell upon him as "the only one to have recently departed [the Central Intelligence Agency engineering group] on poor terms", the WaPo reported, citing the Schulte statement.
The NYT quoted Nicholas Weaver, a researcher at the International Computer Science Institute in California, as saying that WikiLeaks had magnified the danger posed by the Vault 7 leaks and that the tools were aimed only at small groups of high-value targets.
At the time WikiLeaks was posting stolen secret documents about the CIA's hacking operations, including software exploits created to take over iPhones and turn smart TVs into surveillance devices.
Schulte worked at the agency as a software engineer who helped design malware used to break into the computers of terrorism suspects and other targets. Prosecutors say he used the program at his apartment in NY, but they haven't provided evidence that he did it to leak classified information.
That cache would eventually be disclosed as the "Vault 7" data dump.
The child pornography charges, according to the NYT, stem from material investigators found on a server Schulte created as a business in 2009 while he was a student at the University of Texas. The former prosecutor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an open investigation, also said that if government lawyers acknowledged in a public hearing that Schulte was a target, they probably suspect he acted alone.More news: Double amputee summits Everest after losing feet in first attempt
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It is unclear why he has not been charged or cleared in connection with the theft and subsequent leak. He has pleaded not guilty.
Schulte, who also worked for the NSA before joining the CIA, left the intelligence community in 2016 and took a job in the private sector, according to a lengthy statement he wrote that was reviewed by The Post.
Authorities appeared to piece together several bits of information to come up with the theory Schulte is responsible for the leak.
The CIA is not commenting on the latest developments.
Schulte was arrested in August, but prosecutors have been unable to bring charges against him.
He also said that because of 'unfortunate circumstances the Federal Bureau of Investigation ultimately made the snap judgement that (he) was guilty of the leaks and targeted (him)'. And I would disagree with the defense counsel's characterization that those search warrants haven't yielded anything that is consistent with his involvement in that disclosure. Prosecutors, meanwhile, said in court last week that they plan to file a new indictment in the next 45 days.