Special counsel Robert Mueller has added a prosecutor with significant cybercrime expertise to his team.
Ryan Dickey, a senior lawyer in the Justice Department’s Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section, has been detailed to Mueller’s team since early November, a U.S. official told POLITICO.
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The Washington Post first reported Dickey’s move.
Mueller’s addition of a veteran cyber expert to his team suggests that his investigation may be focusing on computer hacking, an element of Russia’s alleged 2016 election meddling that has received less attention than issues like possible collusion between Moscow and President Donald Trump’s team.
Dickey’s highest-profile case involved Marcel Lazar, also known as “Guccifer,” a Romanian man who hacked the personal email accounts of prominent Washington figures like Secretary of State Colin Powell and Hillary Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal. A federal judge sentenced him to 52 months in prison in September 2016.
Some experts have suggested that the special counsel probe may result in charges under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the landmark cybercrime law that makes it illegal to aid in a computer intrusion. If any of Trump’s associates knew about and encouraged the hacking of Democrats’ emails and computer servers, they could be charged under the statute.
In November, The Wall Street Journal reported that Mueller’s team was letting the original DOJ prosecutors retain the investigation of the actual cyber intrusions into the DNC and other targets.
Before moving to CCIPS in 2014, Dickey was an assistant U.S. attorney in the cybercrime unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia, which has run significant cyber cases like the investigation of WikiLeaks.