Tuesday, 20 February, 2018

Senate Intelligence Committee Targets China, N. Korea as National Security Threats

Trump still unsure Russia interfered in election CNN sources Getty Images
Ellis Copeland | 14 February, 2018, 19:00

Three of the nation's top intelligence officials said Tuesday that the USA has seen Russian activity aimed at meddling in the upcoming midterm elections.

Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on February 13, the directors of the CIA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, and three other spy agencies all agreed with the assessment that Moscow had not curtailed its efforts to influence US politics since the 2016 presidential election.

Coats said that Russian Federation will continue using propaganda, false personas and social media to undermine the upcoming election.

The nation's spy chief said Tuesday that Russian Federation has not slowed down aggressive cyberattacks and political meddling and warned that Vladimir Putin has set his sights on the 2018 midterm elections.

Coats said that Russian Federation views its interference in the 2016 election as a success.

Mr Coats and Mr Wray spoke alongside CIA Director Mike Pompeo and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers. "But there is no question - we've got before us the entire intelligence community, that the Russians interfered in the election in 2016 - they're continuing to do it, and they're a real imminent threat to our elections in a matter of eight or nine months", King said. The president also avoids criticizing his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, who he repeatedly praised during election campaign.

According to the Intelligence Chief, more nuclear testing can be expected within the next year, regardless of seemingly warming relations with their neighbor and USA ally, South Korea.

The House Intelligence Committee has canceled its annual hearing this year, an intelligence official said. 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.

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"It is our hope and our belief that before the primaries begin, we intend to have an overview of our findings that will be public", said Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the panel.

"North Korea will be the most volatile and confrontational WMD threat in the coming year", he said. He said the Russian's had been "attempting" to meddle in the country's affairs, using cheap, ineffective techniques and that the American people were ready to handle those "attempts" to manipulate them.

Without directly criticising Trump's "America First" foreign policy, Coats said, "US allies' and partners' uncertainty about the willingness and capability of the United States to maintain its worldwide commitments may drive them to consider reorienting their policies, particularly regarding trade, away from Washington". 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. "Frankly, the United States is under attack".

Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, agreed.

The American people could pressure Congress on this front.

Coats' concerns don't only pertain to direct action conflicts, however.

Coat said Pakistan's perception of its eroding position relative to India, reinforced by endemic economic weakness and domestic security issues, nearly certainly will exacerbate long-held fears of isolation and drive Islamabad's pursuit of actions that run counter to USA goals for the region.

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