Joshua Schulte, 29, believed to be behind the WIkiLeaks “Vault 7” disclosures of 2017, in which the site spent months slowly leaking CIA hacking tools, had previously been charged with possession of child pornography.
WikiLeaks published the Vault 7 disclosures in 25 increments from March through November 2017. The disclosures themselves didn’t reveal shocking spy powers, but they were a major embarrassment for the agency. In one release, WikiLeaks claimed that the CIA had developed a means to “bypass” the encrypted chat app Signal. The agency hadn’t actually compromised Signal itself, however, but rather had noted in internal documents that hacking such an app wasn’t necessary if the agency could hack a phone itself — a technique commonly deployed among the world’s elite hackers.
If convicted of all charges, Schulte could face a maximum of 135 years in prison.