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Mueller indicted Russian hackers targeted Orthodox clergy

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The Russian hackers indicted in July by special counsel Robert Mueller for infiltrating Democratic National Committee (DNC) email servers also spent years trying to steal information from Orthodox Christian leaders, The Associated Press reported and published The Hill (US).

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, who is among the world’s top Eastern Orthodox Christian leaders, was one of the figures targeted, according to the news service.

The Russian Orthodox Church declined comment to the AP, saying it had no knowledge of the attempted hacking. Additionally, Russian officials referred the AP to Kremlin denials that it has anything to do with the hackers, the AP reported.

The AP reported that the targeting of Orthodox Christian leaders is part of the Kremlin’s effort to help Moscow’s Patriarch Kirill remain as the head of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Last month, the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in the 2016 hacking of the DNC.

All 12 of the defendants are members of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency. Eleven were charged with conspiring to hack into networks used by the DNC as well as the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

The AP reported that the hackers have also attempted to break into the emails of defense contractors, intelligence workers, international journalists and American military wives.

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