Special Counsel Says Private Files Were Used in “Disinformation Campaign” to Discredit Russia Probe

Special counsel Robert Mueller said in a Wednesday filing that a Russian company with access to some files from a case against Russian troll farms were disseminated as part of an online “disinformation campaign” aimed at discrediting his probe into Russian election interference.

Mueller’s prosecutors made the allegation in a motion in the case against Concord Management and Consulting, which requested that information deemed “sensitive” be disclosed to the Russian company’s “officers and employees” as it is preparing for trial.

The company is owned by Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch who is known as “Putin’s chef.” Prigozhin’s company was charged last year with funding a multimillion-dollar social media disinformation campaign to bolster the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.

Concord’s request was denied by the special counsel, who said in his filing that providing these sensitive discovery files “unreasonably risks the national security interests of the United States,” especially after the Russian company last year misused “non-sensitive” materials already in its possession.

According to Mueller’s office, the online disinformation campaign was launched by a user with a Russian internet address. The FBI has found no evidence that U.S. government servers, including ones used by Mueller’s office, had been hacked.

However, the filing says that “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 ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the U.S. political system.”

Mueller’s prosecutors said these materials included nonpublic files supplied to Concord’s defense attorneys, later disseminated through the @HackingRedstone Twitter account.

In the October 22 tweet, the account said, “We’ve got access to the Special Counsel Mueller’s probe database as we hacked Russian server with info from the Russian troll case Concord LLC v. Mueller. You can view all the files Mueller had about the IRA and Russia collusion. Enjoy the reading!”

The tweet linked to a website containing a number of files and folders with names resembling those of materials produced by the special counsel’s office in discovery, which the FBI said, indicates “that the person(s) who created the webpage had access to at least some of the non-sensitive discovery produced by the government in this case.”

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