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Iran Press TV

US accuses Russia of trying to divide Americans through social media

Iran Press TV

Sun Jul 15, 2018 09:38AM

The United States has accused Russia of trying to divide Americans using social media amid allegations that Moscow targeted the 2016 US presidential election.

According to US Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, intelligence officials are seeing "persistent Russian efforts using social media, sympathetic spokespeople and other fronts to sow discord and divisiveness amongst the American people, though not necessarily focused on specific politicians or political campaigns."

Nielsen made the remarks on Saturday at a convention of state secretaries of state, an event that is usually a low-key affair underscoring voter registration, balloting devices and election security issues that do not get much public attention.

She said her agency will assist state and local election officials in preparing their systems for cyberattacks from Russia or elsewhere.

The conference comes after 12 Russian intelligence officials were indicted in connection with the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Justice Department announced on Friday that all 12 of the defendants were members of the GRU, a Russian Federation intelligence agency within the Russian military.

A grand jury convened by special counsel Robert Mueller accused the Russians of engaging in a "sustained effort" to hack Democrats' emails and computer networks.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said no American citizen was indicted.

President Donald Trump has never condemned Russia over the alleged meddling in spite of the findings of all top US intelligence agencies. Moscow has insisted it did not meddle in the election.

In the past, Trump has reiterated Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials, but this week the American president said he would raise the issue when they meet on Monday in Finland.

"All I can do is say, 'Did you?'" Trump said at a news conference in Brussels. "And, 'Don't do it again.' But he may deny it."

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