Russians blamed for leaking Mueller probe evidence
Material released in an attempt to discredit special counsel’s investigation, say prosecutors
US prosecutors have revealed that evidence gathered by special counsel Robert Mueller’s office was obtained by Russians and leaked online, according to a court filing yesterday.
Mueller’s office says that more than 1,000 files it had given to lawyers for indicted Russian hackers “later appeared to have been uploaded to a filesharing site and promoted by a Twitter account”, The Guardian says.
USA Today says the information that was released had been “altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign”, aimed at discrediting Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The Twitter account @HackingRedstone, which announced that the content had been released to the public, has since been taken down by the social media platform.
“We’ve got access to the Special Counsel Mueller’s probe database as we hacked Russian server with info from the Russian troll case. You can view all the files Mueller had about the IRA [Russia’s Internet Research Agency] and Russian collusion. Enjoy the reading!” the tweet said.
Mueller’s office confirmed that the file structure and file names were a match to those used by the investigating team.
“FBI investigators had found no evidence that government servers holding the data had been hacked, according to Mueller’s team, pointing instead to a leak on the Russian side,” says The Guardian.
The Wednesday filing came in response to a request by Russian firm Concord Management & Consulting to “share documents with colleagues in Russia”, while the company fights federal charges, the Wall Street Journal says.
Mueller is prosecuting Concord Management, which is accused of funding hacking operations by the IRA.
Mueller’s office asked the court not to grant the request to share documents, saying it “unreasonably risks the national security interest of the United States”.
It added: “The person who created the webpage used their knowledge of the non-sensitive discovery to make it appear as though the irrelevant files contained on the webpage were the sum total evidence of ‘IRA and Russian collusion’ gathered by law enforcement in this matter in an apparent effort to discredit the investigation.”