Russian Intelligence Officials Indicted On Hacking Charges

15 July, 2018, 05:39 | Author: Sheila Harris

A federal grand jury on Friday charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Democratic computer networks in 2016 as part of Moscow's meddling in the presidential election to help Republican Donald Trump.

The indictment represents special counsel Robert Mueller's first charges against Russian government officials for interfering in American politics, an effort USA intelligence agencies say was aimed at helping the Trump campaign and harming his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced new indictments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference during the 2016 presidential campaign.

But Representative Jerrold Nadler, top Democrat on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee said in a Tweet: "Latest indictments from @TheJusticeDept assert Russian agents were behind the hacks and leaking of DNC emails, in order to influence the 2016 election".

As previous Mueller indictments, this one singles out the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff, also known colloquially as the GRU.

CNN's Russia investigation reporter Marshall Cohen said, by CNN's count, that Mueller has filed "191 criminal charges against 35 defendants", including "112 new charges brought today against a dozen Russian operatives for hacking". But Trump also doubled down on his characterization of Mueller's investigation as a "witch hunt" that hurts America's relationship with Russian Federation.

On July 22, 2016, Organization 1 "released over 20,000 emails and other documents stolen from the DNC network by the Conspirators", the indictment said.

Democratic leaders immediately called for Trump to cancel Monday's scheduled meeting with Putin in Helsinki, but the White House said the summit would go ahead. Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said on Twitter that it was time to end the Mueller investigation since "no Americans are involved".

Stone denied passing any stolen emails to WikiLeaks.

Tight security ahead of Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki
For an organization Trump once called "obsolete", he said on Thursday: "I believe in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ". Ben Sasse also issued a statement that said "all patriotic Americans" should know Putin is not "the President's buddy".

Nadler said he didn't think that Trump should cancel the summit, but he agreed that the President should not be meeting with Putin alone.

Intelligence agencies have said the interference was aimed at helping Trump's presidential campaign and harming the election bid of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Mueller's indictment states that later that very night, Russian hackers became much more brazen: they "attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton's personal office".

Rosenstein said two separate Russian units of the GRU intelligence agency stole emails and information from Democrats and then disseminated it via online personas, DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0.

The Russians indicted are not in U.S. custody nor is it likely that they will ever serve jail time.

"Between in or around June 2016 and October 2016, the Conspirators used Guccifer 2.0 to release documents through WordPress that they had stolen from" the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee, the indictment says.

Rosenstein said during the announcement: "The internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways". They also created a fake identity, Guccifer 2.0, who claimed to be a Romanian hacker with "totally no relation to the Russian government".

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates were charged with money laundering relating to their political consultancy work in Ukraine.

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