The DOJ announced charges against 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses during the 2016 presidential election. The indictments were announced by Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein as part of Mueller’s counsel probe into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The Russians are accused of hacking into the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, and then releasing stolen emails on the internet in the months before the election. Of course, that probably means that someone at the DOJ has access to the DNC Server which oddly nobody from either the CIA or FBI had asked to see at the time of the hack.
The Russian agents created fictitious online personas during their operation, including the Guccifer 2.0 persona, which was previously believed to be a Romanian hacker, as using cryptocurrencies to pay for various computer equipment, including in the US.
The Russian intelligence officials are also charged with using a third-party (which is not named in the indictment but sounds a lot like Wikileaks) to distribute the information (see reference below).
“The internet allows foreign adversaries to attack Americans in new and unexpected ways,” Rosenstein said. “Free and fair elections are hard-fought and contentious and there will always be adversaries who work to exacerbate domestic differences and try to confuse, divide and conquer us.”
Before Friday, 20 people and three companies had been charged in the Mueller investigation. That includes four former Trump campaign and White House aides and 13 Russians accused of participating in a hidden but powerful social media campaign to sway American public opinion in the 2016 election.
But most interesting was the admission at the end of the indictment, according to which there is no indication that any American was a knowing participant in this activity, and no indication that these efforts altered the vote count in any way.
Of course, that didn’t stop Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer from calling on Trump to cancel the summit with Putin, saying that “glad-handing” Putin after the indictments would be “an insult” after they showed that Putin tried to interfere in our elections (except that the indictment clearly states that the vote wasn’t impacted in any way).
Rosenstein said he had briefed President Donald Trump on the indictment, which strategically comes just a day before Trump’s meeting with Vladimir Putin. It is therefore no surprise that the Russian ruble reversed its earlier gains following the announcement.
While the timing of the indictments is certainly curious, Rosenstein insisted when asked by a reporter that the timing is purely a coincidence and not the result of political considerations.
Read the full indictment below: