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Rod Rosenstein Said 12 Russian Agents Were Charged With Hacking. Read Excerpts From His Announcement.

Category: Political News,Politics

Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, on Friday announced new charges against 12 Russian military intelligence officers accused of hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

[Read our main story on the latest indictments in the Russia investigation. ]

The following are excerpts from Mr. Rosenstein’s announcement of the indictment today.

Laying out the charges.

“Today a grand jury in the District of Columbia returned an indictment presented by the special counsel’s office. The indictment charges 12 Russian military officers by name for conspiring to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. Eleven of the defendants are charged with conspiring to hack into computers, steal documents and release those documents with the intent to interfere in the election.

One of those defendants, and a 12th Russian military officer, are charged with conspiring to infiltrate computers of organizations involved in administering the elections, including state boards of election, secretaries of state, and companies that supply software used to administer elections.”

On the hackers’ strategy.

“According to the allegations in the indictment, the defendants worked for two units of the main intelligence directorate of the Russian general staff known as the G.R.U. The units engaged in active cyber operations to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

There was one unit that engaged in active cyber operations by stealing information, and a different unit that was responsible for disseminating the stolen information. The defendants used two techniques to steal information. First, they used a scheme known as spearfishing which involves sending misleading email messages and tricking the users into disclosing their passwords and security information.

Secondly, the defendants hacked into computer networks and installed malicious software that allowed them to spy on users and capture keystrokes, take screenshots, and exfiltrate or remove data from those computers.”

The Russians used cryptocurrencies to conceal their efforts.

“In addition to releasing documents directly to the public, the defendants transferred stolen documents to another organization that is not identified by name in the indictment and they used that organization as a pass-through to release the documents. They discussed the timing of the release in an attempt to enhance the impact on the election. In an effort to conceal their connections to Russia, the defendants used a network of computers around the world and they paid for it using cryptocurrencies.”

No Americans were charged in the indictment.

“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime. There is no allegation that the conspiracy changed the vote count or affected any election result. The special counsel’s investigation is ongoing and there will be no comments on the special counsel at this time.”

[Read the indictment here.]

Rosenstein subtly jabbed Congress weeks after testifying on Capitol Hill.

“We do not try cases on television or in congressional hearings. Most anonymous leaks are not from the government officials who are actually conducting these investigations. We follow the rule of law, which means that we follow procedures. And we reserve judgment. We complete our investigations and we evaluate all of the relevant evidence before we reach any conclusion.”

Rosenstein stressed focusing on holding criminals accountable, not partisan bickering.

“A partisan warfare fueled by modern technology does not fairly reflect the grace, dignity, and unity of the American people. The blame for election interference belongs to the criminals who committed election interference. We need to work together to hold the perpetrators accountable. And we need to keep moving forward to preserve our values, protect against future interference, and defend America.”

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