Russian Intelligence Officers Indicted for Hacking in 2016 Presidential Election

Alex Wong  Getty Images North America

Alex Wong Getty Images North America

Before Friday, 20 people and three companies had been charged in the Mueller investigation. "This is consistent with what we have been saying all along", deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters releasing a statement.

There is also no allegation in Friday's charges that "any American was a knowing participant in the alleged unlawful activity", the indictment says.

In light of the charges against 12 GRU officers announced by Rod Rosenstein, @realDonaldTrump should cancel his meeting with Putin, who ordered the attack on the US.

The indictment reads that GRU officials began their cyberattacks in March 2016 and employed several Americans during this conspiracy. "There is no allegation in the indictment that the Americans knew they were communicating with Russian intelligence officers", Rosenstein said. However, this impact doesn't mean that the vote count was changed.

"The last indictment of Russians involved the so-called troll factories and online bot farms that were causing issues on Twitter", said John Bambenek, vice president at security firm ThreatStop Inc.

While Friday's indictment does not include any criminal allegations against a USA citizen, the charges note that Guccifer 2.0 allegedly communicated with "U.S. persons about the release of stolen documents".

Furthermore, the group also stands accused of creating the Guccifer 2.0 lone-hacker persona through which they tried to claim responsibility for the DNC hack, and through which they released files stolen from the organization.

Although a February indictment accused other Russians of spying and spreading propaganda on social media, it did not link those efforts with hacking, phishing attempts or distribution of hacked information to Republican operatives, a Republican congressional candidate and websites such as DCLeaks, which published the purloined material.

U.S. prosecutors accuse the Russian intelligence officials of creating a fictitious, public-facing persona, dubbed "Guccifer 2.0", to serve as a conduit for the stolen DNC data and others prior to the 2016 election.

For the most part, special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling into the 2016 United States presidential election has operated silently and stealthily, like a submarine.

Because Mueller has maintained public silence on his investigation, Rosenstein has made the few public pronouncements on the probe outside of legal documents and courtroom proceedings. He said the indictments are "further proof of what everyone but the president seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win". With that said, there is a chance this information may have been used during the primaries between same-party candidates as well, but with primaries nearly over in most states by the August 15 date cited in the indictment, this seems less likely.

"We have this stupidity going on, pure stupidity, but it makes it very hard to do something with Russian Federation because, anything you do, it's like: "Russia, oh he loves Russia", he said.

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