- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 16, 2018

A Twitter account linked to Joshua Schulte, a former CIA officer suspected of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, previously endorsed killing the website’s most well-known source, former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning.

Mr. Schulte, 29, was arrested last year and is suspected of supplying WikiLeaks with top-secret CIA hacking tools published by the website under the label “Vault 7,” The Washington Post first reported Tuesday.

Motherboard subsequently reported Wednesday that it was able to link the accused leaker to an internet handle used across multiple platforms, “pedbsktbll,” by scouring public data hosted on a website referenced by federal prosecutors in a criminal complaint charging Mr. Schulte.

An inactive “pedbsktbll” account on Twitter followed only 27 users, including two connected to people identified as Mr. Schulte’s family members, Motherboard reported.

On Twitter, an inactive “pedbsktbll” account followed only 27 users, including two connected to people identified as Mr. Schulte’s family members, Motherboard reported.

Years before Mr. Schulte allegedly supplied WikiLeaks with top-secret CIA tools, the pedbsktbll Twitter account blasted Ms. Manning for giving classified State and Defense Department documents to the same website.

“Of course he should be executed,” the user tweeted in 2010 about the transgender soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning.

“Kill the [expletive],” the user tweeted another time in response an article about a protest held in support of the soldier.

“Off with his head!” the user tweeted.

The same account mentioned WikiLeaks by name 35 times on Twitter between 2010 and 2011, including a tweet in which they called for the website’s publisher, Julian Assange, to be charged with espionage.

While U.S. authorities haven’t publicly charged Mr. Assange, 46, with any crimes related to WikiLeaks, Ms. Manning was court-martialed in connection with supplying the website with classified documents obtained on the job as an Army intelligence analyst. She was convicted in 2013 of multiple counts and sentenced to 35 years in prison, but the bulk of her punishment was commuted in early 2017 during the final days of the Obama administration.

Mr. Schulte is currently being held in New York City awaiting trial in connection with federal child pornography charges brought against him last year, but federal investigators suspect he also supplied WikiLeaks with the material published as part of the website’s Vault 7 release, it emerged Tuesday.

“While the current indictment charges Mr. Schulte with child pornography, this case comes out of a much broader perspective,” defense attorney Jacob Kaplan said during a Jan. 8 hearing in federal court. “In March of 2017, there was the WikiLeaks leak, where 8,000 CIA documents were leaked on the Internet. The FBI believed that Mr. Schulte was involved in that leak.”

Mr. Schulte served as a software engineer for the CIA from 2010 through 2016, according to a LinkedIn profile in his name. He previously worked as a systems engineer for the National Security Agency and was working at Bloomberg LP at the time of his arrest, according to the profile.

On the code repository site Github, meanwhile, a user with the “pedbsktbll” handle uploaded CIA source code to their public account in 2013, The Daily Beast reported Wednesday.

The CIA declined to comment on the leak case, The Post reported.

Ms. Manning declined through a spokesperson to comment on the tweets, Motherboard reported. She is currently running for office in hopes of unseating U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, Maryland Democrat.

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