Home Security Vault 7: CIA contractors under suspicion over leak

Vault 7: CIA contractors under suspicion over leak

Contractors working for the CIA are coming under suspicion as being the likely source of a massive document leak to WikiLeaks. Vault 7, as it has been called, resulted in more than 8500 documents being released on Tuesday US time.

A Reuters report also said that unnamed US intelligence officials had said they believed the documents, ranging in dates from 2013 to 2016, were genuine.

It said an official had indicated that contractors who had had access to the leaked documents were now being looked at, with their mobile device and email logs likely to be examined.

Former NSA contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted about a report that showed a leak of cyber tools had taken place in 2015 by an unknown individual. This was apart from Harold Martin who was found to be hoarding NSA documents in his home and is now in custody after being indicted.

A Russian link to the Vault 7 leak was being ruled out because none of the exploits mentioned in the dump had been used by the Russians, an official said.

US officials have accused Russia of being behind leaks of material from the Democratic party during the presidential election process last year.

Also last year, a group called Shadow Brokers, suspected of having links to Russia, leaked a number of exploits that were found to be NSA-created tools.

Another aspect of the Vault 7 dump that has raised concern is the naming of the US consulate in Frankfurt as housing a hacking hub. US officials have admitted the consulate was home to a CIA base.

The office of Germany's chief federal prosecutor said it would review the documents.

"We're looking at it very carefully," a spokesman for the federal prosecutor's office said. "We will initiate an investigation if we see evidence of concrete criminal acts or specific perpetrators."

After the disclosure of mass NSA surveillance in 2013, material came to light that showed the US spy agency had kept tabs on German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.