DoJ Indicts 12 Russians For Crypto-aided Interference in US Elections

Glen Norman
July 16, 2018

The Helsinki meeting between presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will take place Monday, despite the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers for interfering in the November 2016 presidential election, Washington said on Friday.

While the Russians accused of attacking Clinton's campaign also used traditional currencies, the indictment said they had "principally used Bitcoin when purchasing servers, registering domains and otherwise making payments in furtherance of hacking activity".

Nielsen's remarks come a day after the Justice Department announced indictments against 12 Russian military intelligence agents as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, accusing them of engaging in a "sustained effort" to hack Democrats' emails and computer networks. The indictment documents reveal that the hackers were in regular communication with people in the United States, including "senior members of the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump".

On Saturday, Twitter suspended two accounts allegedly used by Russian officials to spread information hacked from Democrats' computers and email accounts during the 2016 US presidential election. So while there were suspicions about Russian Federation, the precise motives behind the leaks were hard to divine.

But the indictment identifies the defendants as officers with Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff, also known as GRU.

In their correspondence with the "US person", the alleged hackers were pretending to be hacker Guccifer 2.0, and asked whether the material they posted online (a turnout model for the Democrats presidential campaign) was of use.

The Russian government has repeatedly denied that it had any role in the DNC and Clinton campaign hacking.

Friday's indictment states that in one message sent in August 2016, "the conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0", sent a message to the unnamed individual that said, "please tell me if i can help u would be a great pleasure to me". The leak was claimed to be a work of Guccifer 2.0.

The charges come as Mr. Mueller continues to investigate potential coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

Court records show that a grand jury Mueller has been using returned an indictment Friday morning. No Americans are involved. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. WikiLeaks explained, "we think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting".

The indictment did not name or charge WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group led by Julian Assange, which published thousands of Democratic emails just before the party's 2016 nominating convention.

Among those who have been indicted in connection to the special counsel probe are former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, campaign adviser Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos, a foreign policy adviser on the campaign, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

"As Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said today: 'There is no allegation in this indictment that Americans knew that they were corresponding with Russians".

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