Federal prosecutors on Monday charged a former CIA employee with violations of the Espionage Act and related crimes in connection with the leak last year of a collection of hacking tools that the agency used for spy operations overseas.
Joshua Adam Schulte, who worked for a CIA group that designs computer code to spy on foreign adversaries, was charged in a 13-count superseding indictment with illegally gathering and transmitting national defence information and other related counts in connection with what is considered to be one of the most significant leaks in CIA history.
The indictment accused Schulte of causing sensitive information to be transmitted to an organisation, which is not named in the indictment but is thought to be WikiLeaks.
The group posted the hacking tools online last year in a release it called "Vault 7." Prosecutors alleged Schulte stole the information in 2016.
Schulte had long been a suspect of investigators exploring the leak, but before Monday, he had been held on separate child pornography charges. Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman said in a statement that investigators looking into Schulte found the porn in his residence. His personal computer, federal prosecutors alleged, held more than 10,000 images and videos of such material, protected under three layers of passwords.
Schulte was arrested on charges stemming from the porn in August 2017.