Arthur J. Villasanta – Fourth Estate Contributor
San Francisco, CA, United States (4E) – Twitter has shut down the accounts of “Guccifer 2.0” and “DCLeaks,” both of which are fronts for Russia’s military spy agency. This followed the recent indictment by Special Counsel Robert Mueller of 12 Russian agents who used the accounts to spread lies and disinformation about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.
The accounts were suspended less than 30 hours after Mueller charged the 12 Russian agents with hacking Clinton’s presidential campaign; the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DNCC) to support the candidacy of Donald Trump.
“The account has been suspended for being connected to a network of accounts previously suspended for operating in violation of our rules,” said a Twitter spokesman. Twitter said both accounts have been dormant for a year and a half.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said the coordinated Russian cyberattacks were part of Russia’s multifaceted effort to boost elect Trump while maligning Clinton. He said Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks are at the heart of that complex interference plot.
Mueller charged Russian agents controlled the Twitter handles and used them to disseminate the emails stolen from Clinton’s camp and the Democratic Party organizations.
Guccifer 2.0 was created by the GRU (“Glavnoye razvedyvatel’noye upravleniye), the foreign military intelligence agency of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. It admitted to hacking the DNC’s computer network and leaked its documents to WikiLeaks and to the media.
DCLeaks is a front for the Russian cyber-espionage group Fancy Bear, which, in turn, is a cyber espionage group organized by the GRU. It was responsible for publishing leaks of emails belonging to multiple prominent figures in the United States government and military.
Guccifer 2.0 pretended to be a lone hacker with no affiliation or allegiance to the Russia, but Mueller said that was a ploy. DCLeaks similarly claimed to be a Washington-based watchdog vowing to “analyze and publish a large amount of emails from top-ranking officials.”
Roger Stone, a longtime GOP operative and one of Trump’s most trusted advisers, was in contact with Guccifer 2.0 during the campaign.
The suspensions of Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks sparked criticism from Clinton supporters who said Twitter did too little, too late. Robby Mook, Clinton’s former campaign manager, said the development should serve as a sobering reminder for journalists and politicians.
“Every campaign and media outlet needs to think long and hard about how their actions may make them accessories to a foreign attack on our democracy,” said Mook. “This will happen again and all of us — all sides and parties — will be tested.”
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