The archive of files detailed the CIA's use of hacking tools, including malware to take over iPhones and turn smart television sets into surveillance devices.
The disclosure constituted one of the largest breaches of classified. Schulte's attorneys have said that Tor is used for all kinds of communications and have maintained that he played no role in the Vault 7 leaks. Federal prosecutors identified Schulte as a suspect during a hearing in January, noting that he provided WikiLeaks with secret code as part of the whistleblowing group's "Vault 7" collection.
U.S. Attorney Matthew J. Laroche said that "the government immediately had enough evidence" to target Schulte in an investigation but had failed to do so.
But rather than charge Schulte in relation to the leak of classified documents, he was charged in August with the possession of child pornography after agents allegedly found 10,000 illicit images of children on a server he created in 2009 during the time he was studying at the University of Texas, Austin.
It is unclear why he has not been charged or cleared in connection with the theft and subsequent leak.
Schulte is being held without bail on child pornography charges brought against him in Manhattan federal court. The elder Mr. Schulte said that his son was in college when he built the server later found to contain child pornography, and that he "had so many people accessing it he didn't care what people put on it".
Spokesmen for the C.I.A. and the Justice Department declined to comment. The statement said he later reported "incompetent management and bureaucracy" at the CIA to the agency's inspector general and a congressional oversight committee. He also said a coincidentally planned vacation with his brother made authorities wrongly believe he was fleeing the country. The reports cast him as a disgruntled employee, and when he left the Central Intelligence Agency in 2016, suspicion fell upon him as "the only one to have recently departed [the Central Intelligence Agency engineering group] on poor terms", the WaPo reported, citing the Schulte statement.
"Due to these unfortunate coincidences the Federal Bureau of Investigation ultimately made the snap judgment that I was guilty of the leaks and targeted me", he said.
Schulte's defense attorney said in court that the government's reasoning used to obtain search warrants for Schulte's property were "just flat inaccurate and not true".
Laroche said he disagreed with Schulte's lawyer at the time, who claimed the search warrants had not yielded anything consistent with the material released by WikiLeaks.