Jun 19, 2018

Former CIA officer charged in massive leak of agency hacking tools

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Federal prosecutors have charged former CIA computer engineer Joshua Schulte, 29, with stealing classified information, damaging agency computers, theft of government property, and lying to the FBI, the Justice Department announced Monday.

Why it matters: Investigators believe Schulte, who has been the main suspect in what appears to be the worst leak in CIA history, provided WikiLeaks with a series of stolen documents detailing the government's hacking tools, which the organization then posted online in March 2017. The massive breach, known as "Vault 7," set off a hunt to identify the individual behind the leak.

The backdrop: Investigators had long suspected that Schulte was the man behind the breach, but until Monday, he was being held on separate charges for the possession of child pornography.

Take note: The DOJ's press release did not mention WikiLeaks by name. Instead, federal court documents say Schulte illegally obtained classified information in 2016, then provided it to an organization, which is believed to be WikiLeaks. Politico's Josh Gerstein says the omission signals "that [WikiLeaks] has not been charged in the case."

The impact: "Added together, the charges against him carry a statutory maximum penalty of 135 years in prison," the Washington Post's Matt Zapotosky writes. He adds that some officials have compared the leak to that of former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden.

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World coronavirus updates: Confirmed cases top 1.2 million

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The number of novel coronavirus cases surpassed 1.2 million worldwide Saturday night, as Spain overtook Italy as the country with the most infections outside the U.S.

The big picture: About half the planet's population is now on lockdown and the global death toll was nearing 64,800, by Sunday morning, per Johns Hopkins data.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 8,500

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 8,500 in the U.S. early Sunday, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day for the past four days, since April 1.

The big picture: President Trump said Saturday America's is facing its "toughest" time "between this week and next week." Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said U.S. deaths are expected to continue to rise during this period.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health