Special Counsel Robert Mueller Indicts 12 Russians for Hacking

Alex Wong  Getty Images North America

Alex Wong Getty Images North America

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

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said there was sufficient evidence to present the charges to a grand jury.

A dozen Russians have been criminally charged with hacking and leaking the emails of senior Democrats during the 2016 presidential election campaign, it was announced on Friday.

US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russian Federation used propaganda and hacking to meddle in the election in an effort to harm Clinton and eventually help Trump. The indictment also alleges the GRU officers hacked into computers belonging to a company that supplies software used to verify voter information, and targeted local and state election offices.

The attacks were a signature feature of Russia's active measures against the United States; embarrassing emails were passed to Wikileaks, which released them publicly.

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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The indictment - which comes days before President Donald Trump holds a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin - was the clearest allegation yet of Russian efforts to meddle in American politics.

That put Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in charge, and he promptly appointed former FBI Director Mueller as special counsel.

The hackers, the DOJ said in its press release, released the hacked information "on the internet under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 and through another entity".

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".

"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime", he said at a news conference.

"It is a stunning set of indictments and clearly indicates that a lot of what the president and his administration have said about the hacks on Hillary Clinton's campaign and the DNC simply was not true", Tapper added.

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