Russians accused of hacking Democrats in 2016 US election
14 July, 2018, 05:01 | Author: Mable Gonzales
Twelve Russian spies have been charged with running a sweeping hacking campaign to damage Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 USA presidential election - with the indictment landing three days before Donald Trump is set to meet Vladimir Putin.
It is the first to implicate the Russian Government directly. Throughout at least March and April there were repeated efforts to break into about 120 Democratic National Committee, Clinton and left-leaning activists' accounts across the country.
By June 2016, the defendants, relying on fictional personas like DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0, began planning the release of tens of thousands of stolen emails, the indictment alleges.
Still, Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosensteinsaid the internet "allows foreign adversaries to attack Americans in new and unexpected ways".
To help mask their Russian origins, the military officers used networks of computers located across the world, including in the USA, and paid for it using Bitcoin. Guccifer 2.0 said it would be a "great pleasure" to help. "Anything you do, it's always going to be, 'Oh, Russia, he loves Russia'".
Today, WikiLeaks tweeted that the indictments are an "interesting timing choice" ahead of President Trump's scheduled meeting with Vladimir Putin on Monday.
Before Friday, Mueller's group had charged 20 people and three companies in its investigation.
Rosenstein said he had briefed President Trump on the indictment earlier this week, adding that although Americans corresponded with the indicted Russians, in this case no Americans knowingly conspired with Russian intelligence officers.
A few hours before the indictments were announced, Trump described the Mueller investigation as a "rigged witch hunt" that is hurting the U.S. relationship with Russian Federation. The 20 are four former Trump campaign and White House aides, three who have pleaded guilty to different crimes and agreed to cooperate, and 13 Russians accused of participating in a hidden but powerful social media campaign to sway U.S. public opinion in the election. Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, said on Twitter that it was time to end the Mueller investigation since "no Americans are involved".
All 12 defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian Federation intelligence agency within the main intelligence directorate of the Russian military, who were acting in "their official capacities".
"When we confront foreign interference in American elections, it is important for us to avoid thinking politically as Republicans or Democrats and instead to think patriotically as Americans", he said. Pure stupidity. But it makes it very hard to do something with Russian Federation.
"If it is Russian Federation, which it probably is not, nobody knows who it is, but if it is Russian Federation, it's really bad for a different reason because it shows how little respect they have for our country when they would hack into a major party and get everything", Trump said.
After a press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday, Mr. Trump said he would address election meddling with Putin. He is investigating Moscow's interference in the election, and trying to determine whether Mr. Trump's campaign colluded with Russian Federation.
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