Written byRamya Patelkhana ·
The US Justice Department has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for hacking the servers of senior Democrats, including their Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 US Presidential Election.
The indictments as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in 2016 election come ahead of President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin's 16 July in Helsinki, Finland.
The 12 Russians are members of GRU, a Russian Federation intelligence agency within Russian military's Main Intelligence Directorate.
They engaged in a sustained effort to hack into computer networks of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
They released the stolen information online under the names "DCLeaks" and "Guccifer 2.0" and through another entity.
The indictment says these Russian intel officers in 2016 began spearphishing Clinton presidential campaign's volunteers, employees, and chairman, too.
They stole usernames and passwords for numerous individuals and used them to steal email content/documents and hack into other computers.
They covertly monitored computer activity of several employees and implanted malicious computer code to steal passwords and maintain access to the DCCC and DNC networks.
To avoid detection, these Russian officials used false identities while using a network of computers located around the world, including the US, paid for with cryptocurrency through mining Bitcoin and other means intended to obscure the origin of the funds.
The indictment also said the same bitcoin mining operation that funded DCLeaks.com registration payment also funded the servers/domains used in the spearphishing campaign.
Deputy Attorney General Rod J Rosenstein said: "The Internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways. The Department of Justice is resolute in its commitment to locate, identify and seek to bring to justice anyone who interferes with American elections."
White House Deputy Spokesperson Lindsay Walter said: "There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. No allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count."
"Today's charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and...that the alleged hacking affected the election result. This is consistent with what we have been saying all along," Walters added.
Democratic Party, meanwhile, demanded that Trump cancel his meeting with Putin.
"These indictments are further-proof of what everyone but the President seems to understand: President Putin is an adversary who interfered in our elections to help President Trump win," Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer said.
He said the meeting should be canceled until Russia takes steps to prove they won't interfere in future elections.
Senator Patrick Leahy said, "President needs to put America first and stop undermining this crucial national security investigation."
Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi said Russians interfered in 2016-elections, and they will do so again in the fall, adding, "Strong, immediate action is needed to secure...state election systems.
"(Trump's) Failure to stand up to Putin would constitute a profound betrayal of the Constitution and...democracy," Pelosi said.
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