The US Justice Department has reportedly gathered enough evidence to charge six Russian government officials behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) network prior to the 2016 US elections.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Federal agents and prosecutors in Washington, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Philadelphia have been cooperating with investigators and prosecutors related to the DNC investigation, according to the WSJ citing people familiar with the investigation.
The forensic hacking investigation, conducted by cybersecurity experts, began before the appointment of federal special counsel Robert Mueller who was tasked to oversee the investigation of Russia’s alleged intrusion in the 2016 presidential campaign. According to the report, there is an “eagerness” among federal prosecutors and FBI agents to file charges against the perpetrators. The effort could also involve publicly naming these officials which would make it difficult for them to travel to other countries. Arresting the officials is “highly unlikely”, the WSJ reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
An excerpt from the report read:
While the alleged hackers are unlikely to be arrested and prosecuted in the U.S., the Justice Department has been bringing more cases against alleged hackers acting on behalf of foreign governments as a means of making the allegations public and potentially forcing a change in behavior, people familiar with the strategy said.
US intelligence agencies have said Russian intelligence agencies were behind the attacks that ultimately resulted in thousands of emails leaked by WikiLeaks in the lead-up to the elections last year. In January, the intelligence community concluded that Russian president Vladimir Putin had ordered the cyberespionage campaign to help sway the election for Trump’s victory.
For its part, Moscow has continually denied any involvement in the US elections and President Trump has also denied that his campaign colluded with the Russian government.
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