Putin Again Denies Cyberspying Despite New Details of 2016 Hack of Dems

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President Vladimir Putin’s denial of interference in the 2016 elections was called “extremely strong and powerful” by President Trump as the two held a press conference Monday following their meeting in Helsinki. Former CIA Director John Brennan called Trump’s position “nothing short of treasonous,” CNN reported. The meeting between the two presidents was overshadowed by the federal indictment Friday of 12 front-line Russian intelligence agents who U.S. officials believe hacked the 2016 presidential election. Friday’s indictment also shows how they did a lot more than steal and disseminate embarrassing emails from Democratic party officials, Politico reports. U.S. intelligence officials say the agents, posing as a Romanian hacker known as Guccifer 2.0, were asked by WikiLeaks to send anything ‘hillary-related,” according to The New York Times. 

The indictment provides never-before-seen detail of how the Russian cyberspies operated, based on intercepts that had to have come from American, British or Dutch intelligence, interviews in recent months show. All three eventually got into the Russian networks, but it was the British who had first warned the National Security Agency that they were seeing the D.N.C.’s messages running through communications lines controlled by the Russian military intelligence service, called the G.R.U. The operatives from two units in Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency meddled in the election through an elaborate series of coordinated high-tech influence operations, and by using a global network of anonymous servers, bitcoin purchasers and other unwitting cutouts to cover the digital tracks. That kind of extraordinary capability allowed the Russians “to virtually look over the shoulders of Democratic campaign staffers in real time throughout most of the 2016 campaign,” said Ed McAndrew, a former federal cybercrime prosecutor.

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