U.S. 2018 elections 'under attack' by Russian Federation, says United States intelligence chief


"There should be no doubt that Russia perceives that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations", Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Intelligence Committee during a hearing on the top national security threats to the U.S.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Russian Federation, as well as other foreign entities, were likely to pursue more cyber attacks on US and European elections this year and beyond.

Coats also spoke about threats from China, Russia and Iran but singled out North Korea as the "most volatile and confrontational" in terms of weapons of mass destruction in the coming year.

"We expect Russian Federation to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen and other means of influence to try to build on its wide range of operations and exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States".

Leaders of United States intelligence agencies warned on Tuesday that Russian Federation will try to interfere in the 2018 USA midterm elections by using social media to spread propaganda and misleading reports, much as it did in the 2016 campaign.

Other senators asked Coats, Pompeo, Wray and their counterparts to restate their support for the 2017 assessment that concluded Russian Federation had attacked the previous year's election.

His remarks came at the beginning of the Senate Intelligence Committee's annual hearing on worldwide threats to national security.

- The top USA intelligence chiefs told lawmakers that they have seen signs of Russian meddling in the upcoming midterm elections. "This is not going to change or stop".

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The disconnect between Trump and his senior-most intelligence advisers has raised concerns that the US government will not be able to mount an effective plan to beat back Russian influence operations in the upcoming midterm election.

"Russian trolls and bots continue to push divisive content, both in the United States, and against all our allies in Europe - not only the UK, but, as we've talked before, France, Germany, Netherlands".

They stridently deny the Trump campaign might have conspired with the Russian attack - and have gone on offense against their own Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department in charging them with bias and abuse of power. He has repeatedly expressed doubts about the Russian attempt to influence the 2016 election, in opposition the uniform opinion of the intel community.

Coats told a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee that despite Washington's requests to do more, the Pakistan military is only trying to appear tougher against the Taliban and Haqqani militants.

Coats was joined by the heads of the CIA, FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency.

Pompeo added: "Senator Reed, we have a significant effort". "The Russians have a strategy that goes well beyond what is happening in the United States". He said al-Qaida "will remain a major actor in global terrorism" and will remain "intent on attacking the United States and USA interests overseas".

Earlier in the hearing, Pompeo said that the intelligence community has offensive "capabilities" to "raise the costs to adversaries" seeking to hack into election systems to disrupt voting.

Asked by committee vice chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., whether they agreed that Russian activity is undiminished, all agreed with Coats.