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The Russian connectionDOJ considering charging Russian government officials in DNC, Podesta hacks

Published 3 November 2017

The Department of Justice has identified six Russian government officials involved in hacking the DNC and using the information against candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Prosecutors have enough evidence to bring charges against those individuals by next year. The information gathered by DOJ supports the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian government agencies to launch a coordinated effort to help Trump win the November election. DOJ has identified Russian hackers working for both military and intelligence agencies in Russia.

President Donald Trump has been claiming that stories of Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails were a “hoax” and “fake news.” He also said that he believes President Vladimir Putin’s denial of Russian interference in the 2016 election – and rejects as “politically motivated” the unanimous conclusion of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia engaged in a broad, systemic hacking and disinformation campaign to influence the election.

The Department of Justice is siding with the U.S. intelligence community, and it has been persuaded by the incontrovertible evidence U.S. intelligence agencies — relying on technical means, digital forensics, and human sources – have collected to prove Russia’s interference.

The Wall Street Journal reports that DOJ has identified six Russian government officials involved in hacking the DNC and using the information against candidate Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Prosecutors have enough evidence to bring charges against those individuals by next year.

The Journal notes that the information supports the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian government agencies to launch a coordinated effort to help Trump win the November election. The exploration of a criminal case against the Russian government officials is in the early stages. The inquiry is led by Robert Mueller, in cooperation with federal prosecutors and agents in Washington, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. The U.S. investigative team has identified Russian hackers working for both military and intelligence agencies in Russia.

Russian government hackers stole thousands of DNC emails, and emails from the account of 2016 Democrat campaign chairman John Podesta. The GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service where many of the hackers worked, then coordinated with Julian Assange to publish a selection of these emails on Wikileaks on a schedule which would cause the most damage to the Clinton campaign and be of most help to Trump.

Trump has described the claims of Russian DNC hacking “a big Dem scam and excuse for losing the election,” but U.S. intelligence officials have gathered conclusive evidence of the hacking by Russian government hackers.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” the U.S. intelligence community said in its January 2017 report.

Endgadget notes that the Russian DNC hacking is not unlike the Yahoo attack, which allowed Russian hackers to steal the information from at least 500 million accounts.

Fox News reports that it would be nearly impossible for the DOJ to arrest any Russian officials, but that the charges would make it difficult for those charged to travel. More importantly, if charges are brought, they will be helpful in revealing the scope of Russia’s campaign to undermine the 2016 election.