Russian agents ‘targeted’ Iowa during 2016 election, according to new indictment

  • 113

Photo by Zak Neumann

On Friday, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced an indictment against 12 Russian military intelligence agents for hacking the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee during the 2016 presidential election.

The 11-count indictment includes charges of conspiracy against the United States, money laundering, as well as attempts to hack the computer systems of state election boards and other government agencies. Iowa is one of the states listed in the indictment.

In or around October 2016, [Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev] and his co-conspirators further targeted state and county offices responsible for administering the 2016 U.S. elections. For example, on or about October 28, 2016, KOVALEV and his co-conspirators visited the websites of certain counties in Georgia, Iowa, and Florida to identify vulnerabilities.

The indictment does not specify which Iowa counties were targeted.

In September 2017, Iowa was one of 21 states contacted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), because the department believed the state’s election system may have been hacked by Russian state operatives. In response to questions about the DHS inquiry, Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate told the media that Iowa had not been affected.

“On a regular basis, we have bad actors who attempt to breach our system. Hundreds of thousands every single day … and we deflect them so that they are not successful,” Pate stated. “To be a hacker, they have to actually get into the system. We have not been hacked. The Russians have not hacked us.”

In response to today’s indictments, the White House issued a statement: “Today’s charges include no allegations of knowing involvement by anyone on the campaign and no allegations that the alleged hacking affected the election result, This is consistent with what we have been saying all along.”

Although the indictments did not include any charges related to collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian intelligence, it did contain information indicating how eager the Russians were to assist Trump.

During a campaign appearance in Florida on July 27, 2016, then-candidate Trump said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 [Clinton] emails that are missing. I think that you’ll be rewarded mightily by our press.”

According to the indictment:

The conspirators spearphished individuals affiliated with the Clinton campaign through the summer of 2016. For example, on or about July 27, 2016, the conspirators attempted after hours to spearphish for the first time email accounts at a domain hosted by a third-party provider and used by Clinton’s personal office. At or around the same time, they also targeted seventy-six email addresses at the domain for the Clinton campaign.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement denying anyone employed by the Russian government was involved in hacking the 2016 election. “It is regrettable that the circulation of false information in Washington has become the norm, and that criminal cases are brought for obvious political reasons,” the statement said. According to the ministry, “obviously, the purpose of this is to spoil the atmosphere” for Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Hours before Rosenstein’s announcement, Trump was asked during a press conference in the United Kingdom if he would raise the issue of Russian interference in his meeting with Putin.


Subscribe for daily news updates from Little Village


“I will absolutely, firmly ask the question,” Trump said. He added, “I don’t think you’ll have any ‘Gee, I did it, I did it, you got me.”’

Trump was informed by Rosenstein about today’s indictments prior to leaving for Europe, The Washington Post reported on Friday. Despite this, during his U.K. press conference, Trump called the probe into Russian election interference a “rigged witch hunt” that “really hurts our country and really hurts our relationship with Russia.”

Last week CNN reported that Trump “plans to meet one-on-one with Vladimir Putin at the start of their July 16 summit in Helsinki, Finland, according to a person familiar with the plans, before allowing other aides to join the highly anticipated encounter with the Russian leader.”

During a July 2017 meeting of the G-20 nations in Hamburg, Germany, Trump had an unannounced three-hour private meeting with Putin with no aides present. Trump and Putin also had two brief private meetings during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam in in November.

  • 113
Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »



Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.


Randy's Flooring is a local, employee-owned retailed that has been part of the Corridor for over 40 years, delivering quality and value through the largest selection of carpet, tile, hardwood, window treatments, and specialty products supported by the knowledgeable staff and in-house flooring designers who can help transform residential and commercial spaces.

Get Started