Mueller indicts 12 Russian intelligence officers on hacking charges

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Robert MuellerAlex Wong/Getty ImagesRobert Mueller.
  • The special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers on Friday related to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election.
  • This is the first time Mueller’s office has directly pointed a finger at the Russian government for meddling in the race.
  • Mueller’s office charged the defendants with 11 counts related to conspiracy, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.

The special counsel Robert Mueller on Friday indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers suspected of playing a role in the hack of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 US election.

The charges represent the first time that Mueller’s office has directly pointed a finger at the Russian government for interfering in the election.

The US intelligence community found in early 2017 that the Kremlin ordered an elaborate and multi-faceted campaign to meddle in the race. A key pillar of that campaign, according to US intelligence, was the hacking of the DNC and the subsequent dissemination of emails intended to hurt Democrats and the campaign of then Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Friday’s indictment names 12 members of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence unit, and accuses them of conspiring to interfere with the election by hacking into computers, stealing documents, and releasing those documents with the intent to interfere.

In addition to accusing the defendants of engaging in malicious cyber operations to steal and disseminate information, the indictment specifically names the Russia-linked hacker Guccifer 2.0 and the website DCLeaks.

The charging document claims that the defendants falsely claimed that DCLeaks was controlled by American hackers, and that Guccifer 2.0 was a Romanian hacker, when in fact both were created and controlled by the GRU, Russia’s main military intelligence unit.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.