Russian intelligence members indicted for US election meddling

Mueller indicts 12 Russian intelligence officers over 2016 election interference

Mueller indicts 12 Russian intelligence officers over 2016 election interference

Rosenstein said 11 of the Russians indicted Friday were charged with "conspiring to hack into computers, steal documents, and release those documents with the intent to interfere in the election".

Mueller's indictment details a sophisticated, large-scale hacking effort by 12 Russian officers to interfere with the 2016 elections by stealing documents from private servers and staging their release through fake online personas, such as Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. The indictment does not specify which state had been hacked.

Rosenstein, who laid out the allegations at a news conference that began while Trump was meeting with Queen Elizabeth in London, said he had briefed Trump earlier in the week and that the president was "fully aware" of the charges in the indictment. In the first reaction from Trump's legal team, Giuliani calls the indictments "good news for all Americans", but falsely claims that "no Americans are involved".

However, "there's no allegation in this indictment that the Americans knew they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers", he said.

Some researchers said the indictment might have depended on USA signals intelligence, the fruits of which are rarely revealed, because it quotes electronic messages sent to an unidentified organization presumed to be London-based WikiLeaks.

It said the officers then "released that information on the internet under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0".

A federal grand jury has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offences related to the 2016 presidential election, the Justice Department announced on Friday.

"The defendants covertly monitored the computers, implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code, and stole emails and other documents", Rosenstein said.

Hillary Clinton's campaign organization and the Democratic National Committee may have been targets, including Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, but Rosenstein declined to identify them.

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

Nevins is not named in this indictment, but the revelation that a candidate also communicated with Russian hackers indicates yet another point of contact in a conspiracy that went beyond Trump's campaign. The indictment says the Russians, posing as Guccifer 2.0, approached Organization 1 to offer them documents stolen from the DNC and transferred that data starting on July 14, 2016.

"At the heart of [the indictment] is criminal activity by the Russian government", he said.

But Rosenstein said that responsibility for this prosecution - which is unlikely to go forward to a trial in court as Russian Federation is unlikely to extradite the suspects who've been charged - would pass from Mueller's office to the National Security division of the Justice Department. "This has gone from being a matter of curiosity and a matter of politics to being a national security issue". The defendants were part of the Russian Federation's Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff (GRU).

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