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12 Russian Intel Officers Indicted for Hacking Clinton Campaign, DNC, DCCC

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein news conference

WASHINGTON -- Twelve members of Russia's military intelligence agency (GRU) have been indicted for hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign during the 2016 campaign season.

The indictment from special counsel Robert Mueller's office, announced at the Justice Department today by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, also outs the website DCLeaks -- which claimed to be a hub for "American hacktivists" -- and hacker Guccifer 2.0 as GRU operations; false Facebook and Twitter accounts were also used to promote DCLeaks. Rosenstein noted that the Russians tried to paint a false cover for Guccifer 2.0 as Romanian.

It also states that in July 2016 the Russian team hacked the website of an unnamed state board of elections and "stole information related to approximately 500,000 voters, including names, addresses, partial social security numbers, dates of birth, and driver's license numbers."

The next month, using "some of the same infrastructure," the Russians allegedly hacked a vendor that supplied software used to verify voter registration information. The text of the indictment does not state that vote totals were known to be altered as a result of these intrusions.

Rosenstein said that this specific indictment does not contain allegations that Americans committed a crime. He stressed that Mueller's investigation is ongoing.

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.

Eleven of today's defendants are charged with conspiring to hack into computers, steal documents, and release documents in an effort to interfere with the election. One of those 11, along with a twelfth Russian officer, are charged with conspiring to infiltrate computers of organizations responsible for administering elections, including state boards of election, secretaries of state, and companies that supply software and other technology used to administer elections.

Rosenstein said the team used spearphishing to trick users into revealing login information and also hacked into computer networks, where they installed spyware. The intrusion into accounts of volunteers and employees of the Clinton campaign began in March 2016, then the DNC and DCCC were hacked.

"The defendants covertly monitored the computers, implanted hundreds of files containing malicious computer code, and stole emails and other documents," Rosenstein said. "The conspirators created fictitious online personas, including 'DCLeaks' and 'Guccifer 2.0,' and used them to release thousands of stolen emails and other documents, beginning in June 2016. The defendants falsely claimed that DCLeaks was started by a group of American hackers and that Guccifer 2.0 was a lone Romanian hacker."

"In addition to releasing documents directly to the public, the defendants transferred stolen documents to another organization, not named in the indictment, and discussed timing the release of the documents in an attempt to enhance the impact on the election."