A new cybersecurity task force has been created to help combat the global cyber threat after Russian nationalists were indicted for trying to interfere with the 2016 election.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions signed the memorandum last Friday to create the Cyber-Digital Task Force to try and confront people and agencies who might try to meddle with U.S. elections.
“The Internet has given us amazing new tools that help us work, communicate, and participate in our economy, but these tools can also be exploited by criminals, terrorists, and enemy governments,” Sessions said in a news release.
“At the Department of Justice, we take these threats seriously,” he continued. “That is why today I am ordering the creation of a Cyber-Digital Task Force to advise me on the most effective ways that this Department can confront these threats and keep the American people safe.”
According to the Department of Justice’s news release, the new task force will have representatives from different areas of the justice department including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is also allowed to invite representatives from other DOJ components and other agencies, and can also create subcommittees.
The task force is requested to issue a report to Sessions by the end of June on their findings.
The group’s research will include “efforts to interfere with our elections” and “the use of the Internet to spread violent ideologies and to recruit followers,” as well as a few other categories.
“Evaluating these threats, and formulating a strategy to combat them, should be among the Task Force’s highest priorities,” Sessions wrote in the memo.
The Cyber-Digital Task Force will also help identify how federal law enforcement can continue to combat the evolving global cyber threat.
“The Internet has transformed our lives,” he concluded. “We must ensure that Internet-based technologies remain sources of enrichment, rather than becoming forces of destruction and vectors of chaos.”
This new task force was created after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office charged 13 Russians and three Russian companies with plotting to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein held a press conference in which he gave details into the indictment charges, making clear that there is nothing in it that says American citizens were knowingly involved and that “there is no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election.”
The indictment released Friday says that the defendants allegedly conducted “information warfare” against the U.S. in order to spread “distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” according to Rosenstein.
Twelve defendants worked for a company called Internet Research Agency, LLC, based in St. Petersburg. It reportedly operated through Russian shell companies.
“It employed hundreds of people in its online operations, ranging from creators of fictitious personas, to technical and administrative support personnel, with an annual budget of millions of dollars,” Rosenstein said.
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