US indicts 12 Russian spies for 2016 election hacking

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – 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.

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.

Prior to Friday's announcement, 20 people 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, followed by the hacking of the DNC in April, according to the indictment.