By Michael Hernandez
A U.S. grand jury on Friday indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers for alleged hacking related to the 2016 presidential election.
All of the individuals allegedly worked for two units of Russia's main intelligence directorate, the GRU, according to the nearly 30-page indictment.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told reporters one of the GRU units worked to illegally acquire information while the other disseminated the stolen information through two online personas -- "Guccifer 2.0" and "DCLeaks."
The indictment includes 11 criminal charges and a separate forfeiture allegation stemming from the hacking of volunteers and employees of then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, as well as the Democratic National Committee's (DNC) computer network.
"The Internet allows foreign adversaries to attack America in new and unexpected ways," said Rosenstein. "Free and fair elections are hard-fought and contentious. There will always be adversaries who work to exacerbate domestic differences and try to confuse, divide, and conquer us."
The indictments are the latest produced as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into alleged Russian efforts to sway the 2016 race in favor of President Donald Trump and his campaign's possible collusion with that effort.
Friday's indictment does not allege any cooperation between the Trump campaign and the alleged Russian hacking effort.
Prior to the announcement, 20 individuals and three companies had been indicted by the Mueller probe, which Trump has adamantly derided as a "witch hunt."
The hacking of the Clinton campaign began in March 2016, and included a sweeping campaign of online trickery to fool Clinton campaign workers to give up their usernames and passwords. It was followed by the hacking of the DNC in April, according to the indictment.
A separate incident in July 2016 involved the hacking of 500,000 voters' personal information from a state election board.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.