Twitter suspends accounts linked to Russian spies

Alleged that agents released stolen information to help Donald Trump campaign

FILE - In this June 21, 2017, file photo, Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election at the Capitol in Washington. A year into his investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. In that time, the breadth and stealth of his investigation has rattled the White House and its chief occupant, and has spread to Capitol Hill, K Street, foreign governments and, as late as last week, corporate boardrooms. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Social networking site Twitter on Saturday suspended two accounts linked to 12 Russian spies indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller for interfering in the 2016 US presidential election.

On Friday, a federal grand jury charged the 12 Russian intelligence officers with hacking computer networks in the election offices of the Democratic Party in 2016 in the most detailed US accusation yet that Moscow meddled in the election to help Republican Donald Trump.

Twitter Inc said on Saturday it had suspended the accounts – @DCLeaks_ and @Guccifer_2 – that were named in the indictment, which alleges a wide-ranging conspiracy involving sophisticated hacking and staged release of documents.

The indictment alleges that from around June 2016 the conspirators released tens of thousands of stolen emails and documents "using fictitious online personas, including 'DCLeaks' and 'Guccifer 2.0'."

In a statement on Saturday, a Twitter spokesman said: "The accounts have been suspended for being connected to a network of accounts previously suspended for operating in violation of our rules."

Twitter in recent months has purged suspicious user accounts in a bid to prevent the dissemination of fake news and "encourage healthy conversation," the company said this month.

Friday's indictment was the first by Mueller that directly charges the Russian government with meddling in the election. The Kremlin denies it interfered.

Speaking at a cyber security conference in Philadelphia on Saturday, the US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said the indictments proved that the United States "will not tolerate interference with our democratic processes and that there will be consequences for foreign meddling."

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