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12 Russian intel officers indicted for hacking the DNC and Clinton campaign

Enlarge / Red Square in Moscow, circa 1990.DEA / W. BUSS/De Agostini/Getty Images

The US Justice Department on Friday filed criminal indictments that accused 12 Russian intelligence officers of carrying out the 2016 hacks on the Democratic National Committee and the campaign of Hillary Clinton. The officers–one of whom operated under the persona of Guccifer 2.0–then allegedly dispersed sensitive communications in an attempt to influence the results of the 2016 election, prosecutors alleged.

The indictments were filed by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller, who is investing possible collusion between the presidential campaign of President Donald Trump and the Russian spies US intelligence agencies say interfered with the 2016 election.

So far, Mueller’s team has indicted 32 people, including members of a Russian company that blanketed social media with fake news stories and senior members of the Trump campaign. Friday’s indictments were disclosed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein at a press conference in Washington, DC.

The documents said that Mueller’s team has determined that a person calling himself Guccifer 2.0 and leaked sensitive DNC documents in the months leading to the 2016 election, is a Russian intelligence officer. Guccifer 2.0 had insisted that he was a Romanian who hacked the DNC independently with no involvement from Russia.

Russia has also denied any connection to the breach. Prosecutors said they were able to establish Guccifer 2.0 was really a Russian agent when one of the individuals maintaining Guccifer 2.0’s online presence forgot to use a virtual private network when accessing a US-based social media platform. Instead, the person left an Internet Protocol address located in Moscow in the service’s logs.

“To hide their connections to Russia and the Russian government, the Conspirators used false identities and made false statements about their identities,” the indictment stated. “To further avoid detection, the Conspiratores used a network of computers located across the world, including in the United States, and paid for this infrastructure using cryptocurrency.”

Friday’s indictments come ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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