Friday, 14 December, 2018

US accuses Russian spies of 2016 election hacking as summit looms

Nikolai Galkin  TASS Nikolai Galkin TASS
Ray Hunter | 15 July, 2018, 09:57

She said US intelligence officials are seeing "persistent Russian efforts using social media, sympathetic spokespeople and other fronts to sow discord and divisiveness amongst the American people, though not necessarily focused on specific politicians or political campaigns".

USA intelligence agencies have said Moscow was aiming to help the Trump campaign and harm Clinton's bid.

The hackers also engaged in a powerful social media campaign to influence public opinion in the election.

The indictment lays out a sweeping effort starting in March 2016 to break into key Democratic email accounts, such as those belonging to the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The Podesta emails published by WikiLeaks displayed the campaign's private communications, including deliberations about messaging that played into attacks that Clinton was calculating and a political flip-flopper.

The Kremlin denied anew that it tried to sway the election.

Nielsen spoke Saturday at a Philadelphia conference of US state secretaries of state from across the country.

The 12 were identified as officers with the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian General Staff. The messages were released through fictitious personas like DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0.

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Trump has never condemned Russian Federation over its meddling in the 2016 election.

"The open question is whether Americans were involved in this and will they be charged".

"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", Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told a news conference. "Free and fair elections are hard-fought and contentious and there will always be adversaries who work to exacerbate domestic differences and try to confuse, divide and conquer us".

Mueller previously indicted 13 Russians and three companies for allegedly interfering in the presidential vote. The 20 are four former Trump campaign and White House aides, three of whom have pleaded guilty to different crimes and agreed to cooperate, and 13 Russians accused of participating in a hidden but powerful social media campaign to sway US public opinion in the 2016 election. If that link is established, it would shatter the Kremlin denials of the Russian state's involvement in the USA elections, given that the GRU is part of the state machine.

State secretaries of state and other top election officials are meeting in Philadelphia amid fresh allegations of Russia's interference in the 2016 presidential elections. Trump, hours before the indictment was made public, complained about the Russian Federation investigation hours, saying the "stupidity" was making it "very hard to do something with Russian Federation".

Despite calls by top Democrats in Congress for Trump to cancel the meeting scheduled to take place in Finland on Monday, Pompeo told reporters: "I think it's very important that they meet", CNN reported late Saturday. This month, the Republicans and Democrats on the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee backed the findings of an assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies that Russian Federation tried to interfere in the 2016 election and acted in favor of Trump and against his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Trump is due to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin - who has denied election meddling - in Helsinki on Monday for a summit that includes a one-on-one meeting with only interpreters present. "We should stand united against Putin's past and planned future attacks against us".

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