Intelligence chiefs deliver warning on Russia


Three of the nation's top intelligence officials confirmed Tuesday that they have seen evidence of Russian meddling in the upcoming midterm elections - part of what they say is Moscow's escalating cyber assault on American and European democracies.

Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that Russian Federation believes it did so well trying to influence the 2016 presidential election that it will try to do so again as hundreds of politicians contest for House and Senate seats throughout the year.

Coats said Russia, China, Iran and North Korea "pose the greatest cyberthreats" to the United States.

"We expect Russian Federation to continue using propaganda, social media, false flag personas and exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States", Coats testified.

According to Coats, the intelligence community remains unanimous in its assessment that Russian Federation will target the 2018 United States midterm elections.

USA intelligence agencies concluded past year that Moscow sought to influence the 2016 presidential campaign in favor of then-Republican candidate Donald Trump.

In fact, Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo explained that "Russian activities and intentions have already been detected to have an impact on upcoming elections" in United States, and revealed that measures are being taken to try to counteract m.

Coats said he expected that Pyongyang would continue missile testing into 2018. "This threat did not begin in 2016, and it certainly didn't end with the election".

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- Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) disputed Warner's assessment that the US was no better prepared now than in 2016 for Russian election meddling. His assessment was supported by the other intelligence leaders at the hearing. At a recent North Atlantic Treaty Organisation meeting, Coats said, officials were asked for a show of hands or verbal response if they did not worry about Russian interference in their elections.

"I believe that he feels that he and Russian Federation did not meddle in the election", Mr. Trump said of Putin in November.

The midterm elections are slated for November 6.

That's what panel Chairman Richard M. Burr, a North Carolina Republican, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said Tuesday in wrapping up the open portion of the annual hearing on "Worldwide Threats". House Republicans have said in a recently released memo that political bias at the Federal Bureau of Investigation led to the use of Democratic Party-funded material in an application for a surveillance warrant on a former Trump campaign adviser; the release of a rebuttal memo by Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee has so far been blocked by the White House, citing the need to remove classified information from it.

"This is not going to change or stop", replied National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers.

A heated Sen. Angus King (I-Me.) asked the officials what is being done to deter such attacks and if there is some way to let the American people know that actions are being taken. And Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said there is "no single agency in charge" of blocking Russian meddling, an admission that drew the ire of Democrats. "My problem is I talk to people in Maine that say, 'The whole thing is a witch-hunt and hoax because the president told me'".

"We face a complex volatile and challenging threat environment", he said.

Director of national intelligence Dan Coats agreed. "There needs to be a national cry for that".