U.S. identifies suspect in major leak of CIA hacking tools

  |   World News

The U.S. government has identified a suspect in the leak last year of a large portion of the CIA's computer hacking arsenal, the cyber-tools the agency had used to conduct espionage operations overseas, according to interviews and public documents. But despite months of investigation, prosecutors have been unable to bring charges against the man, who is a former CIA employee being held in a Manhattan jail on unrelated charges.

Joshua Adam Schulte, who worked for a CIA group that designs computer code to spy on foreign adversaries, is believed to have provided the agency's top-secret information to WikiLeaks, federal prosecutors acknowledged in a hearing in January. The anti-secrecy group published the code under the label "Vault 7" in March 2017.

It was one of the most significant leaks in the CIA's history, exposing secret cyberweapons and spying techniques that might be used against the United States, according to current and former intelligence officials. Some argued that the Vault 7 disclosures could cause more damage to American intelligence efforts than those by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. He revealed extraordinary details about the capabilities of the United States to spy on computers and phones around the world, but the Vault 7 leaks showed how such spying is actually done, the current and former officials argued.

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