The authorities in Moscow are prosecuting at least one cybersecurity expert for treason, a prominent Russian criminal defense lawyer confirmed on Friday, while a Russian newspaper reported that the case is linked to hacking during the United States presidential election. While surely touching a nerve in American politics, the developments in Moscow left a still muddled picture of what, exactly, a series of arrests by the security services here signifies. But the virtually simultaneous appearance of at least four prominent news reports on the hacking and several related arrests, citing numerous anonymous sources, suggests that the normally opaque Russian government intends to reveal more information about the matter, though it is unclear why.
In the waning weeks of the Obama administration, American federal intelligence agencies released a report asserting the Russian government had hacked into the computers of the Democratic National Committee and the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, John D. Podesta, stealing and releasing to WikiLeaks emails intended to damage Mrs. Clinton and help President Trump win the election.
But the unclassified version of the report offered only thin corroborating information, many independent analysts have said. The treason arrests in Moscow hint at a possible human intelligence source in at least one hacking episode, the intrusion into state electoral boards in Arizona and Illinois.
The confirmation by the Russian lawyer, Ivan Pavlov, in written answers to questions from The New York Times, was the closest so far to a formal acknowledgment that the Russian government has detained suspected spies within the cyberbranch of its Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., the main successor to the K.G.B. Mr. Pavlov declined to identify his client or elaborate on the reason for the indictment for “betraying the state,” punishable by up to 20 years in a penal colony.
Full Article: Russian Charged With Treason Worked in Office Linked to Election Hacking – The New York Times.