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U.S. Indicts 7 Russian Intel Officers in Alleged Doping Scandal Hack

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

The United States on Thursday indicted seven Russian intelligence officers for conspiring to hack computers and steal data in a bid to delegitimize international anti-doping organizations and expose officials who revealed a Russian state-sponsored athlete doping program.

The charges of conspiracy to commit computer fraud and abuse and to commit wire fraud and money laundering came hours after Dutch authorities said they had disrupted an attempt by Russian intelligence agents to hack into the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in April. 

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Thursday Russia must be held accountable for its attempts to hack the OPCW.

"Basically, the Russians got caught with their equipment, with people who were doing it and they have to pay the piper, they are going to have to be held to account. How we respond is a political decision by the nations involved," Mattis said after a meeting with his NATO counterparts, although he said there would not necessarily be a "tit-for-tat" response by the West.

Britain and the Netherlands have accused Russia of running a global campaign of cyber attacks to undermine democracies, including a thwarted attempt to hack into the U.N. chemical weapons watchdog while it was analyzing a Russian poison used to attack a spy.

"We are ready today to provide cyber support to our allies, I've seen enough of the evidence to say that the Dutch and the British are 100 percent accurate in who they have attributed this to," Mattis said.

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