Russian is first to be charged with meddling in 2018 midterm elections

Russian operative charged in conspiracy to influence mid-term elections cause social discord

A Russian woman, allegedly one of the masterminds behind a conspiracy to interfere in both the 2016 and 2018 elections, was charged in the United States on Friday in relation to attempts to corrupt next month's congressional midterm vote.

Khusyaynova managed Project Lakhta's finances, the complaint alleges.

Using social media and other avenues, the conspiracy participants waged "information warfare against the United States", attempting to sow distrust of candidates for US political office and the USA political system, according to the complaint.

The FBI has been warning for a while that the Russians would try to interfere in the midterms, and the Justice Department has just brought a criminal case alleging just that.

USA law enforcement and intelligence agencies said on Friday they remain concerned about attempts by Russia, China, Iran and other foreign groups to interfere with the November 6 congressional elections, as well as the presidential election in 2020.

Prigozhin, who was among those personally charged by Mueller, has been dubbed "Putin's cook" by Russian media because his catering business has organized banquets for Russian President Vladimir Putin and other senior political figures.

Those allegedly involved in the operation attempted to present themselves as Americans, the DOJ said. "Some social media accounts posted tens of thousands of messages, and had tens of thousands of followers". The conspirators also allegedly crafted guidance on how to react to specific news articles in a divisive manner, per the complaint.

Apple's privacy portal now lets United States customers download their data
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The two-page statement about foreign influence was issued just weeks before the November 6 elections by the Office of the Department of National Intelligence, the Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security.

Given the breadth of alleged interference by Russian Federation, which includes the hacking of Democratic email accounts ahead of the 2016 presidential election, it was notable that the intelligence community identified two other nations in the same statement that did not provide specific examples of foreign meddling.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said recently that Russia has no intention to interfere in the midterm elections in the US or meddle elsewhere. What remains to be seen is how and whether Mueller can connect President Trump or his campaign to those efforts.

"This effort was not only created to spread distrust towards candidates for USA political office and the US political system in general, but also to defraud the United States by impeding the lawful functions of government agencies in administering relevant federal requirements", the news release said.

"Some state and local governments have reported attempts to access their networks, which often include online voter registration databases, using tactics that are available to state and nonstate cyber actors", they said. He has been hit with sanctions by the USA government.

So far, they said, state and local officials have been able to prevent access or quickly mitigate these attempts.

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