Russian Intelligence Officers Charged Over 2016 Election Hacking

Alex Wong  Getty Images North America

Alex Wong Getty Images North America

The Justice Department has announced charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses during the 2016 presidential election.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says that Russian intelligence agents stole information on 500,000 US voters after hacking a state USA election board.

USA intelligence agencies have said the interference was aimed at helping the presidential campaign of Republican Donald Trump and harming the election bid of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Mueller and a team of prosecutors have been working since May 2017 to determine if any Trump associates conspired with Russian Federation to interfere in the election. They also hacked into networks and installed malicious software that captured keystrokes, took screenshots, and allowed them to take data from the computers.

The GRU agents indicted Friday, he said, used the alias "Guccifer 2.0" and a website called "DCleaks" to disseminate the stolen information, presenting them as fronts for American and Romanian hackers.

In just over a year since his appointment as special counsel, Robert Mueller and his hand-picked team of prosecutors have filed nine indictments covering twenty individuals and three businesses, earned five guilty pleas, have two criminal cases headed to trial, and sentenced one person to prison. Three Russian companies have also been charged, along with top Trump advisers Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn. The current indictment did not allege that any Americans committed crimes related to the Russian hacking, Rosenstein announced.

"The conspirators corresponded with several Americans through the internet", Rosenstein explained, adding, however, that, "The is no allegation in this indictment that the Americans knew they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers".

The indictment, secured by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in his ongoing investigation of Russian involvement in the 2016 election won by President Donald Trump, was issued three days before Trump, who is now on a visit to Britain, meets Russian President Vladimir Putin for a summit in Helsinki.

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