Dead Drop: March 13

PROTECTING HOSTILE INTELLIGENCE SERVICES: When he was CIA director, Mike Pompeo declared that Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange made common cause with dictators and he declared the organization a “hostile intelligence service.” Senator Ron Wyden and Congressman Ro Khanna recently introduced the “Espionage Reform Act” to protect journalists and whistleblowers. Some observers believe the act would “protect journalists like Julian Assange.” According to,“both Wyden and Khanna say Assange could still be prosecuted for allegedly helping Chelsea Manning hack passwords, though defense attorneys might have a reasonable challenge.”

NOT YOUR VAULT: We certainly have learned a lot from the case of former CIA techie Joshua Schulte who was on trial in New York, accused of taking some of the Agency’s most sensitive hacking tools and allegedly passing them to the aforementioned Wikileaks. The jury failed to reach a verdict on the most serious charges this week. Schulte was found guilty of making false statements to investigators and contempt of court.  During the trial, defense attorneys tried to portray the CIA as extremely sloppy in protecting their most powerful hacking tools code named “Vault 7.”  For example, they said that the “virtual machine” that held all the hacking tools had a password of “123ABCdef.” Well, at least it wasn’t “password.”  We don’t know much about the jury who weighed Schulte’s fate – but we did learn some interesting background on one juror who was dismissed from the case because she admitted having looked at press reports about the matter – a strict no-no. According to the New York Post, Sylwia Wiesenberg of Manhattan “designs beauty masks for people’s rear ends.” She is the founder of “Bawdy Beauty” that offers “butt facials” and “exfoliation for kiesters.” In the end, she didn’t get a chance to throw Schulte’s a%# in jail but Wiesenberg did say that he was a “naughty boy” but she might not have voted to convict him if she hadn’t been canned first. The judge will hold a hearing at the end of the month to decide what to do about the charges that the jury was deadlocked over.

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