USA indicts 12 Russian intelligence agents over 2016 election hacking

14 July, 2018, 03:47 | Author: Katrina Soto
  • Mueller departs after briefing members of the U.S. Senate on his investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign on Capitol Hill in Washington DC

JORGE SILVA/REUTERS/NewscomDeputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein just announced that a grand jury has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking into the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, and arranging for the release of internal communications for the objective of influencing the outcome of the 2016 election.

The indictments come from the US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who's been charged with investigating any suspected links between Russians and officials with President Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

US indictments against a dozen Russian intelligence officers on Friday provided detailed technical evidence to back up allegations of Russian hacking and leaking of information to influence the 2016 USA presidential election.

The Russians also sent more than 100 spearphishing emails to "organizations and personnel involved in administering elections in numerous Florida counties" in and around election day in November 2016.

Americans were in contact with the operatives, Mr. Rosenstein said, but the indictment doesn't allege any of them knew they were communicating with Russians attempting to influence the election.

"The Internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways", Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said. Rosenstein told reporters the timing of the release had nothing to do with the upcoming summit. When the Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a public warning about the state election board hacks in August 2016, the hackers deleted search histories and other records related to election-related entities.

While President Donald Trump hasn't been a supporter of this probe previously calling it a witch hunt, Rosenstein said that he has been briefed about this indictment earlier this week and "is fully aware of today's actions by the department".

While no American is charged in today's indictment, there is nothing in it about precluding any eventual charges against a USA citizen.

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Rosenstein said these new indictments contain no allegation that any United States citizen committed a crime or that it changed the final vote count or election result.

USA prosecutors accuse the Russian intelligence officials of creating a fictitious, public-facing persona, dubbed "Guccifer 2.0", to serve as a conduit for the stolen DNC data and others prior to the 2016 election.

"The goal of the conspirators was to have an impact on the election", he added.

In February, Mueller charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies in an elaborate conspiracy to interfere in the election.

On Thursday (Friday NZT), GOP lawmakers skewered FBI agent Peter Strzok at a congressional hearing over his work as the former lead agent in the Russian Federation probe and an earlier investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's wide-net Russian Federation investigation has officially resulted in 191 criminal charges against 35 defendants, and that count may only rise.

President Donald Trump's highly anticipated meeting with Queen Elizabeth II was spoiled on Friday as news broke that 12 Russian officials had been indicted for allegedly hacking into the Democratic National Committee. They include four former Trump campaign and Trump administration aides. Once inside the Democratic computers, they searched for keywords like "Hillary", (then-GOP candidate Ted) "Cruz", "Trump" and "Benghazi investigations" so they could steal the most damaging files.

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