Special counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing Wednesday that evidence collected in his criminal case against a Russian troll was used in an online disinformation campaign to apparently discredit the investigation into Russian election meddling.
Mr. Mueller made the disclosure in a court filing in his criminal case against Concord Management and Consulting, a Russian company owned by oligarch with ties Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Concord Management was indicted last year, accused of spending millions on a social media disinformation campaign to “sow chaos” in the 2016 election.
Prosecutors with the special counsel office made the disclosure in a filing opposing Concord’s request that certain “sensitive” documents be disclosed as it prepares for trial.
Concord is also asking to send that information to Russia for review by company officers an employees. But prosecutors said doing so “unreasonably risks the national security interests of the United States” and some materials have already been misused.
“Certain non-sensitive discovery materials in the defense’s possession appear to have been altered and disseminated as part of a disinformation campaign aimed (apparently) at discrediting the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the U.S. political system,” the filing says.
Prosecutors said some of the confidential materials released to Concord’s attorneys were apparently changed and disseminated using the Twitter account @HackingRedstone, which has since been suspended.
An Oct. 22, 2018 tweet from the account claimed it had access to the special counsel’s database and encouraged followers to view all the files it about the Internet Research Agency, an organization funded by Concord, and Russia collusion, according to the court filing.
The tweet linked to a webpage listing roughly 1,000 files that had similar names structures to the materials the special counsel’s office provided to Concord in discovery, the filing says.
Of the 300,000 files provided to Concord, roughly 1,000 were found on the site, prosecutors said in the filing.
It is not clear who operated the Twitter account, but prosecutors said it was registered to a user with an internet address in Russia. The FBI found no evidence that U.S. Government servers, including those operated by Mr. Mueller’s team, had been hacked.
The special counsel’s office does not allege Concord supplied the files to anyone. However, prosecutors said in the filing the web site’s creator had access to “at least some of the non-sensitive discovery produced by the government in this case.”
“The fact that the webpage contained numerous irrelevant files suggests that the person who created the webpage used their knowledge of non-sensitive discovery to make it appear as though the irrelevant files contained on the webpage were the sum total evidence of IRA and Russian collusion’ gathered by law enforcement in this matter in an apparent effort to discredit the investigation,” the filing says.
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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