The US deputy attorney generals day coincided with the president filling the Queen
It was an extraordinary split-screen moment. On one area, president Donald Trump encountering the King at Windsor Castle and strolling past a ceremonial protector of red-uniformed beefeaters. On the other, the US deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, was simultaneously indicting 12 Russian spies for spoofing and leaking the emails of senior Democrat during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
These latest summons by the special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, were carefully crafted. Its timing seems decidedly mischievous. And it heaps pres on Trump ahead of his meeting on Monday in Helsinki with the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, the three men to whom the GRU intelligence agency and its generals eventually answer.
For two years, Trump has equivocated in the face of a simple question: did Moscow hack the US election in order to help him be president and to expense Hillary Clinton? Despite testify from US intelligence agencies, he has variously blamed a “400-pound guy” sitting on a berth, recommended the answer is vaguely unknowable and said he could not is ensured if it was Russia or China.
But Mueller’s latest indictments lay out the facts in granular detail. The document describes how groupings of job Russian snoops working out of an anonymous classical building in primary Moscow systematically spoofed into the Democratic National Committee. It was a textbook subterfuge functioning, peculiarity fake persons, hidden cryptocurrency pays and easy-to-do spear phishing.
During his meeting with Putin on Monday, Trump could necessitate the extradition of the 12 GRU officers, who, it is now known, include Viktor Borisovich Netyksho, the person in charge of the hacking enterprise be carried forward by two GRU groups in Moscow. Putin will disavow involvement.
If Trump does not ask, he will be clearly failing to standing up for US affairs in the face of an extraordinary cyberattack by a unfriendly foreign superpower. If he does call for expulsion, this signifies admitting that Mueller’s investigation into collusion between his campaign and Russia is not a “witch-hunt”. There are real alleged schemers. And, it turns out, they work for Russian intelligence.
All the signs are that Trump will continue to deny Moscow’s meddling. Rosenstein said on Friday that he told the president several days ago of the latest indictment. Trump appears to have ignored it. On Thursday, at the Nato summit in Brussels, he flattered Putin again. He even proposed Russia’s leader had done good events in Crimea, after annexing its national territory in 2014, including building a aqueduct and a submarine base.
The indictment creates farther intriguing questions as to how the US detected the names and precise ranks of the 12 GRU detectives, one of them a major. A mole inside the GRU’s ” Aquarium” headquarters in Moscow- visited in 2013 by Michael Flynn, Trump’s original pick for national defence adviser- cannot rule out the possibility. But it seems unlikely.
More probable is that US intelligence agencies carried out substantial counter-hacking and intercept measures designed to their own. And relied on input from America’s European allies including Britain- the same collaborators that Trump defamed on Thursday during his astonishing attack on Nato countries for what he sees as armed underspending.
According to reports, in the summer of 2014 the Dutch intelligence service spoofed into one of the GRU’s undercover cells, operating out of a university building near Red Square. The Netherlands gained better access to computers being used by the Cozy Bear group. They even spied on the GRU outfit through closed-circuit Tv cameras, evidencing their activities in real time.
Seemingly, the US intelligence community- regularly attacked by Trump as a vindictive force- is good at its enterprise. Michael McFaul, the former American ambassador in Moscow, described himself on Friday as “very impressed” by Mueller’s indictment. It demonstrated” the phenomenal capabilities of our intelligence community”, he tweeted, doing the” Kremlin will take note “.
Putin will not tolerate the GRU patrolmen to stand trial in America any time soon. But by asking for their expulsion, Trump might lessen the impression that he is beholden to Putin and that his safarus team may even have colluded with the Kremlin on his course to the White House.
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