US special prosecutor Robert Mueller charges 12 Russian operatives


In July 2018, Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor appointed to look into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election, charged 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking Hillary Clinton's campaign and the Democratic National Committee by spearphishing staffers. The charges include conspiracy to commit an offence against the US, aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to launder money, and conspiracy to access computers without authorisation. The hack led to the release of emails of Clinton campaign manager John Podesta in the last month before the vote, and those of the DNC just before the Democratic Convention. A White House spokesperson said the charges did not indicate that Russian hacking had affected the outcome of the election and did not suggest that the Trump campaign was involved. The indictment claimed the intelligence officers created the fake online personas Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks, hiding their identity by using bitcoin to pay for domains and site hosting, in order to publish the hacked documents and passed them on to an unidentified organisation for dissemination. Wikileaks is not named, but it published stolen Democratic emails during the run-up to the election.

Writer: Kadhim Shubber and Courtney Weaver
Publication: Financial Times

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