Russians Accused of Hacking Democrats in 2016 Election

Rod Rosenstein

The indictment includes counts of unauthorized computer access, identity theft and money laundering, as well as an additional charge of conspiracy to access computers.

The 12 Russian intelligence officers allegedly hacked into the computer network of the Democratic Congressional Committee as well as Democratic National Campaign Committee. Guccifer also passed along files to an unnamed "Organization 1", which were then released just prior to the start of the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

That evening, the indictment says, the Russians attempted to break into email accounts used by Clinton's personal office, along with 76 Clinton campaign email addresses.

The hacking tools included emails disguised as Google security alerts containing bogus links and malware deposited on servers.

■ They also hacked into a vendor that supplied software used to verify voter registration information.

But Mr. Podesta said he was skeptical that Americans were unaware they were communicating with Russians, citing USA intelligence reports linking Gufficer 2.0 and DCLinks to that country's operatives.

They used spear-phishing techniques to steal user names, passwords and emails and paid for the operation with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, the indictment alleges.

Among the hacking conspiracies described by prosecutors, one sticks out for how it attacked Americans regardless of their politics.

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". They stole thousands more e-mails, and rooted through the computers for sensitive documents.

"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.

Rosenstein said he briefed President Donald Trump on the case earlier this week, prior to Trump's scheduled meeting with Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

If the involvement of the GRU officers in the hacking effort is proved, it would shatter the Kremlin denials of the Russian state's involvement in the USA elections.

He said the hackers did interact with some Americans in the course of their efforts, but noted those people had not been charged with a crime.

Meuller also has brought charges against 13 Russians or Russian groups.

But with Mueller still investigating, it's not known whether further indictments are taking shape or will. He previously said he was "prepared" to be indicted but continues to deny any wrongdoing related to collusion.

"As I testified before the House Intelligence Committee under oath, my 24 word exchange with someone on Twitter claiming to be Guccifer 2.0 is benign based on its content, context and timing", Stone said when reached by ABC News late Friday.

At the time of the indictment's announcement, all 12 GRU officers are still at large and believed to be located in Russian Federation. "There is no allegation in the indictment that the Americans knew they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers", Rosenstein said. "The special counsel's investigation is ongoing", he said.

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