United States intelligence officials see signs of Russian meddling in midterms


The nation's top intelligence chiefs were united Tuesday in declaring that Russian Federation is continuing efforts to disrupt the US political system and is targeting the 2018 midterm election, after its successful operation to sow discord in the most recent presidential campaign.

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

The leaders from six top USA intelligence agencies all testified that China, Russia and North Korea pose grave threats to the U.S.

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

The head of USA intelligence told Congress Tuesday that Russian Federation, just as it did in the 2016 presidential election, is determined to meddle in the 2018 midterms in order "to undermine democracy, sew discord and undermine our values".

From left to right, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, National Security Agency Director Admiral Michael Rogers and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill Feb. 13, 2018 in Washington, D.C. "This is not going to change or stop".

Democrats expressed concern that President Donald Trump's anger over the investigation into whether his campaign concluded with the Russians in 2016 will undercut the government's ability to respond forcefully to continued Russian interference.

"We are not going to allow some Russian to tell us how we're going to vote".

In Trump's mind, the issue of collusion between his campaign and the Russian government is indistinguishable from the notion that Russia meddled in the election to help him win, the sources said.

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Executives from social media companies such as Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc have testified in Congress about Russia's purported disinformation drive aimed at United States voters.

He took issue with King's suggestion that the US government has not taken actions to deter adversaries in cyberspace.

Coats also said the intelligence agencies "pass onto the policymakers, including the president", relevant intelligence.

His expectation: Russian interference in the midterm or in state elections.

"It is my personal view and shared by many people - that they are carrying out a well-orchestrated, well-executed, very patient long-term strategy to replace the United States as the most powerful and influential nation on Earth", Rubio said.

"We have a significant effort" to rebuff Moscow, he said.

"No single agency is, quote, in charge", he said.

DHS says it is providing state and local election officials with real-time intelligence on the threats.