The probe into the DNC hack is being conducted by US special counsel Robert Mueller, in cooperation with federal prosecutors and agents from Washington, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, the Wall Street Journal reported. The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has enough evidence to file charges against six hackers associated with Russian military and intelligence, as soon as next year, the Journal reported citing unspecified sources familiar with the investigation.
The Journal reported that Muller and the DoJ decided to allow the cyber-probe of the DNC hack continue under the original team of agents and prosecutors. US intelligence agencies jointly pointed the finger at Russia as having perpetrated the cyberattacks against the Democratic Party during the 2016 US presidential election. The hacking campaign led to the eventual mass leaks of a trove of emails and documents by WikiLeaks last year.
In January, the US IC (intelligence community) concluded that Russian president Vladimir Putin personally ordered the hacking campaign to sway the election in favour of Donald Trump. However, Russia has repeatedly denied meddling in the US election.
In the event that charges are brought forward, the case may help shed light on who hacked the DNC and the emails of the then Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. However, the case would likely not result in any arrests or jail time for the six Russian hackers.
If the Russian officials are charged, it would mark the second time that the US government has charged Russians with cybercrimes. Last year, the US brought forward charges against two hackers linked with the Russian government and two Russian intelligence agents over allegations of orchestrating the massive Yahoo hacks that affected nearly all of the tech giant's users.