Twelve Russian intelligence officers charged over U.S. election hacking

US indicts 12 Russians for hacking DNC emails during the 2016 election

For the most part, special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian meddling into the 2016 USA presidential election has operated silently and stealthily, like a submarine. People are already anxious about what could happen there.

After the indictments were announced, top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer called on Mr Trump to cancel his meeting with Mr Putin until Russian Federation takes steps to prove it will not interfere in future elections.

The indictment does not allege that Trump campaign associates were involved in the hacking efforts or that any American was knowingly in contact with Russian intelligence officers.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says that Russian intelligence agents stole information on 500,000 US voters after hacking a state USA election board. The military officers allegedly broke into those systems - and others in the United States - to plant malicious software, steal emails and nab other documents.

Near the end of the 29-page indictment, it states that in late October 2016, one of those charged - and his co-conspirators - attempted to identify vulnerabilities in county election office websites in Florida, Georgia and Iowa. The hackers also created false personas, popularly known as DC Leaks and Guccifer 2.0, that were used to disseminate the stolen documents while disguising the campaign's Russian origins.

In addition to releasing to documents to the public, the defendants also transferred the documents to another organization.

Russian Federation has denied any involvement in the attack and rejected accusations that it interfered in the USA presidential election in a bid to bring about the defeat of Democrat Hillary Clinton. "What impact they may have had, what their motivation may have been independently of what's required to prove this offence, is a matter of speculation. That's not our responsibility".

The 2016 attack affected thousands of employees with emails from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman, being published by outlets including WikiLeaks.

The information was then spread to "an unnamed organisation which was used a pass-through", Rosenstein said.


Evidence of this includes the mention of state election boards and other non-federal institutions in the document, and its scope, which in essence is a legal attempt to hold the Russian state accountable for wide-ranging intelligence activities. Trump has called the Mueller investigation a "witch hunt".

President Trump told reporters a few few hours before Rosenstein spoke that he plans to bring up Russia's election interference campaign Monday with President Vladimir Putin when they meet in Helsinki, Finland. Chuck Schumer, should not be a one-on-one with Putin and Trump alone.

Mr Rosenstein said he had briefed Mr Trump ahead of time about the development in recent days.

Trump has frequently dismissed the Russian Federation probe as a "witch hunt" and expressed his anger that Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing the investigation. He has commented in the past that "a 14-year-old" could have been behind the hacks.

Trump complained about "stupidity" when asked about Mueller's probe earlier Friday, at a news conference in Britain with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Media captionPutin laughs at political chaos in US Who are the defendants?

The indicted Russians, officials in Unit 26165 and Unit 74455 of Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate, are Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, Boris Alekseyevich Antonov, Dmitriy Sergeyevich Badin, Ivan Sergeyevich Yermakov, Aleksey Viktorovich Lukashev, Sergey Aleksandrovich Morgachev, Nikolay Yuryevich Kozachek, Pavel Vyacheslavovich Yershov, Artem Andreyevich Malyshev, Aleksandr Vladimirovich Osadchuk, Aleksey Aleksandrovich Potemkin, and Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev.

Today's latest, and nearly certainly not last, indictments in the Russia scandal concern 12 Russian intelligence figures.

A statement from the White House did not address the allegations of Russian government interference and focused only on what was not in the indictment.

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