Russian spies hacked officials to protect doping athletes, US charges

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Enlarge / Vladimir Putin visits the Coastal Cluster Olympic Village ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics on February 5, 2014. (credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

The US government announced on Thursday that it has indicted seven Russian intelligence officials for hacking targets in the United States.

Ordinarily, intelligence agencies focus on issues related to national security. But a federal indictment announced on Thursday charges that Russian spies waged a long-running campaign to undermine investigations into doping activities by Russian athletes during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Key Russian attacks were carried out in 2016, days after the World Anti-Doping Agency released an initial report on Russian doping activities. Russian agents targeted anti-doping organizations to gather information to undermine the investigation and embarrass non-Russian athletes.

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