March 6, 2017
It’s finally here — WikiLeaks is releasing access to it’s hugely hyped Vault 7 on Tuesday morning at 9 a.m. Eastern. WikiLeaks tweeted a series of six cryptic tweets about Vault 7 in February, causing speculation ranging from Vault 7 being related to 9/11 to Hillary Clinton to a shadow government of some sort. WikiLeaks even dropped another Vault 7 clue in its tweet, with a photo hidden in what looked to just be a plain black background.
Here’s everything we know about Vault 7 so far. Keep this story bookmarked, as we will update it as soon as more information about Vault 7 is available.
1. Vault 7 Is a Series of Leaks that WikiLeaks Is Releasing, Starting With Year Zero
Vault 7 isn’t just one release, it’s a series of leaks that WikiLeaks is releasing starting March 7. (Interestingly, WikiLeaks may have named the leaks “Vault 7” because they are releasing it on the 7th. Or they may have picked this date to correspond with the Vault 7 release.)
No one was sure if this was going to just be one leak or the first in many, until a certain Tweet that WikiLeaks sent out on March 6:
So yes, Vault 7 Year Zero is just the first in a series of releases related to this “Vault 7” topic. The first set appears to be about just a half a gig in size.
The tweet announcing Vault 7’s release contained a photo hidden in what a casual viewer might have thought was just a plain black background. That photo read Prefecture 353. Find out more about the photo in this story below:
2. You Can Download Vault 7 From WikiLeaks’ Tweet and Open It with a 7-Zip File
WikiLeaks provided instructions to the public on its Twitter page on how to access the Vault 7 file. However, you won’t be able to read the file until WikiLeaks releases the passphrase tomorrow at 9 a.m. Eastern. Some are speculating that WikiLeaks may also release the file via its website too, but WikiLeaks has made no indication that this is the case.
According to Wikileaks, to access the file you’ll need to download it from the link in WikiLeaks’ tweet above using a torrent downloader. Note that if you simply click the file in the link above, it will automatically download a torrent file to your computer, so don’t click the link unless you are wanting to download a file. According to WikiLeaks, you will then need the 7zip program to unpack the file. Then right click your WikiLeaks file and open it using 7zip. At this point you will be asked for a passphrase, which WikiLeaks will release at 9 a.m. Eastern.
WikiLeaks is recommending TransmissionBT as a torrent downloader, according to its latest tweet:
3. WikiLeaks Built Hype for Vault 7 By Releasing Six Tweets About It, Asking: ‘Who, What, Where, When, Why and How’
In February, WikiLeaks released six tweets about Vault 7, using journalism’s classic “who, what, where, when, why, and how” method. The first was this:
The photo is of the Svalbard Seed Vault on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen in a remote Arctic archipelago. The vault was created to preserve plant seeds from around the world, in case of a global or regional crisis. Here’s a video explaining the seed vault in more detail:
What you see above the entrance to the vault, in the photo, is an illuminated public artwork. It was made by Dyveke Sanne and is called “Perpetual Repercussion.”
The second tweet was this:
The photo in the tweet shows Nazi gold stored in Merkers Salt Mine (it’s referenced in this Wikipedia article.) The gold at Merkers was discovered when the U.S. Army took Merkers in 1945 during World War II. Two French women had reported that the Kaiseroda salt mine had gold stored by Germans, which was how the U.S. Army first discovered it. According to the National Archives, the mine contained gold bullion, gold Reichsmarks, British gold pounds, French gold francs, American gold pieces, gold and silver coins, additional foreign currency, silver bars, platinum bars, artwork, and more. Nazi gold was allegedly transferred by Nazi Germany to overseas banks during World War II, and to this day people are trying to guess and discover what happened to that missing Nazi gold. A group of Holocaust survivors brought a civil suit against the Vatican Bank over it in 1999. The case was dismissed in 2003, but then reinstated in part in 2005. Various parts of the case were dismissed again in 2007-2009.
The third tweet was this:
The photo in the tweet was from 2010, taken at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, while running a jet inspection test on a Pratt and Whitney F119-PW-100 jet engine. The article talks about soundproof hush houses that are used for jet engine testing, sometimes called “vaults.” The engine’s name fed theories that Vault 7 was about 9/11, because F119 is 911 backwards.
Here’s the fourth tweet, which asks Who is #Vault7?
The photos are part of a series of spy posters created by the U.S. government. You can see all of the posters in the series at the Center for Development of Security Excellence’s website. Beneath Snowden’s photo the poster reads: “Spilled the Beans and Ran.” Beneath Assange’s it reads: “The Hack Behind WikiLeaks.” Beneath Manning’s it reads: “Leaked the Largest Cache of Classifieds.” Since Manning is currently still in jail, this likely doesn’t mean that these three people were the source of the Vault 7 leak.
Here’s the fifth tweet, which asks “Why Is #Vault7?”
A reverse image search revealed this photo to be from an article posted by Whiteman Air Force Base. The caption of the photo reads: “Staff Sgt. Adam Boyd, 509th Civil Engineer Squadron structural supervisor, welds a box blade for a snow plow, Feb. 27. Structures Airmen perform jobs such as this one to save the Air Force from having to possibly spend money on parts made by civilian companies.” This photo fed more theories that these tweets are about 9/11, since box cutters were used and there is a theory circulating about welding pillars incorrectly.
The sixth tweet read: “How did #Vault7 Make Its Way to Wikileaks?” Here it is:
This photo can be found in several locations, including Open Society Foundations’ “Images from the Secret Stasi Archives” here. The caption reads: “When mailboxes were being observed by Stasi agents, every person posting a letter was photographed. Some films found in the Stasi archives also show persons dressed in civilian clothing emptying the mailbox after the conclusion of the surveillance action.” It’s part of a series of photos of people at mailboxes. Stasi is The Ministry for State Security, which was the official state security service of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany.) Wikipedia cites several sources as saying Stasi was often referred to as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies in history.
George Soros is the founder and chairman of Open Society Foundations, the source of this photo. This tweet confirmed that #Vault7 referred to files that WikiLeaks has, rather than to a specific person, as some had surmised prior to this tweet.
These photos may have also been chosen because of the lack of copyright restrictions on them.
Another possible clue was tweeted by EmbassyCat, a Twitter account “run” by Julian Assange’s cat. (It’s an official Twitter account associated with WikiLeaks.)
EmbassyCat, a Twitter account “run” by Assange’s cat, only posted one thing possibly related to Vault 7.
On Twitter, @gal_deplorable provided a translation of the comic:
It talks about how the Papyrus proved that Caesar was lying and all Gaul was not conquered. The “whole empire will tremble” when the scandal comes out. The year 353 AD was referenced in WikiLeaks’ tweet about Vault 7’s release, which also relates back to Gaul, so there could be a connection there. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
4. Theories About Vault 7 Gained New Life When a Court Hearing About Weiner’s Emails Was Postponed
Here are just a few of the theories that have been suggested about Vault 7 and what it could relate to. The theory about Clinton’s missing emails gained new traction after Anthony Weiner’s court hearing scheduled for Tuesday was postponed. We’ll find out which one (if any) is right on Tuesday morning.
Clinton’s Missing Emails or the FBI’s Vault on Clinton
Some believed this was about a seventh “vault” of FBI emails, since the FBI had released six sets of Clinton emails and information at the time that the tweets were published. But this was less than likely, since the FBI just released Part 7 of its Clinton vault here. Others believed that it was related to Clinton’s missing 33,000 emails. This theory gained new traction after a federal court hearing about Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin’s laptop emails, scheduled for Tuesday March 7, was postponed on March 6. However, it’s unclear at this time if the postponement happened before or after WikiLeak’s announcement. Read the press release from Judicial Watch, where they mention the hearing was postponed, here.
Because of President Donald Trump’s recent tweets claiming President Barack Obama “wiretapped” him, some believe that Vault 7 is about this. However, the wiretapping suspicion so far is unsubstantiated.
Others theorized this was somehow related to a longstanding conspiracy theory about “pizzagate,” which involves the idea that high-ranking politicians are involved in a pedophile ring. So far no conclusive evidence has been found to support this theory. It gained traction after WikiLeaks released John Podesta’s emails.
Still others believed that Vault 7 was related to September 11, 2001. In the third #Vault7 tweet, the engine was an F119 which is “911” backwards. The fifth tweet featured a photo of someone welding, which some believe is a reference to a conspiracy theory about an angled cut on a World Trade Center beam.
George Soros & Democrats
Others believed that Vault 7 had something to do with George Soros and the Democrats, since his website was the source for one of the photos.
Government Spending or Military Involvement
Another theory was that WikiLeaks would release something related to government spending or military projects. The fifth tweet referenced a photo from Whiteman Air Force Base, the only permanent base for the B-2. B-2 bombers were used in October 2001 in Afghanistan.
Extinction of Animals or Climate Change
In several WikiLeaks Reddit discussions, some said #Vault7 might reference the next mass extinction event following the sixth, which some scientists say we are in the middle of. This theory is connected to the tweet of the seed vault, and proposed #Vault7 had something to do with climate change.
CNBC reported in October that a new FBI release featured claims of a “shadow government” composed of high-ranking state officials, whom some referred to as “The 7th Floor Group.” So some believed Vault 7 was somehow connected to this.
5. WikiLeaks Supporters and Curious Readers Are Waiting for the Passphrase
Now all that remains is to wait for the passphrase to see what Vault 7 really is. Here are some reactions online as people wait to find out what’s next:
Some, however, weren’t so happy about the news: