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#TrumpRussia: Special Counsel Issues New Indictments

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The much-maligned U.S. justice department announced the indictment of twelve Russian nationals allegedly involved in a “sustained effort” to hack various Democratic party offices and campaign organizations during the 2016 presidential election.

The indictments – part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation – include alleged hacks of the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).  According to justice department officials, “all twelve defendants are members of the GRU, a Russian Federation intelligence agency within the Main Intelligence Directorate of  the Russian military.”

The GRU officers acted “in their official capacity,” the government alleges.

“There is no allegation in this indictment that any American citizen committed a crime,” deputy U.S. attorney general Rod Rosenstein said at a news conference announcing the indictments. “There is no allegation that the conspiracy altered the vote count or changed any election result.”

Specifically, these Russian operatives allegedly used “spearphishing techniques to steal emails and documents, covertly monitor the computer activity of dozens of employees, and implant hundreds of files of malicious computer code to steal passwords and maintain access to these networks.”

Spearphishing is a fraudulent attempt to retrieve sensitive information via disguised electronic methods.

Here’s more from the justice department …

Defendants registered the domain DCLeaks.com and later staged the release of thousands of stolen emails and documents through that website. On the website, defendants claimed to be “American hacktivists” and used Facebook accounts with fictitious names and Twitter accounts to promote the website.  After public accusations that the Russian government was behind the hacking of DNC and DCCC computers, defendants created the fictitious persona Guccifer 2.0. On the evening of June 15, 2016 between 4:19PM and 4:56PM, defendants used their Moscow-based server to search for a series of English words and phrases that later appeared in Guccifer 2.0’s first blog post falsely claiming to be a lone Romanian hacker responsible for the hacks in the hopes of undermining the allegations of Russian involvement.

The #DNCLeaks scandal – which the mainstream media has long held up as Exhibit A in an elaborate Russian election-rigging plot – was the impetus for the original FBI investigation into all of this so-called “Russian meddling”

Frankly, we’ve never bought into that narrative … especially considering credible theories to the contrary.  And especially considering how the Democratic primary was rigged … by Americans.

But unlike a lot of “all in” media outlets, we’re open to looking at what the justice department has uncovered … along with any new evidence that amends (or even upends) our view of things.

But it has a steep hurdle …

“Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn’t even a hack,” internet mogul Kim Dotcom tweeted several months ago.  “It was an insider with a memory stick.  I know this because I know who did it and why.  Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence.  My lawyers wrote to him twice.  He never replied.”

Dotcom’s evidence has also been backed up by an independent metadata analysis.

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Of course, we’ve never said Russian interests didn’t meddle in the 2016 presidential election.  As we noted back in February, “they probably did.”

Here’s the irony, though: Our nation recently participated in a coup d’état in Russia’s back yard – and engages in all manner of assassinations, invasions and propaganda campaigns all over the world (often partnering with some very unsavory sorts).

So it’s funny we are now claiming “election meddling” is a crime.

Our view on all of this?

Let justice be done …

We don’t care who it benefits or harms, just locate the truth about what happened and hold those responsible for any crimes accountable for their actions.

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