Trump Has Not Directed Us to Stop Russian Meddling — Intelligence Chiefs


"There's no single agency in charge" of blocking potential Russian meddling in this year's United States midterm elections, America's top spy told a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday. "Pyongyang is committed to fielding a long range nuclear armed missile capable of posing a direct threat to the United States and modest improvements in North Korea's conventional capabilities will continue to pose an ever greater threat to South Korea, Japan as well as USA targets in those countries".

US intelligence leaders warned a Senate committee Tuesday that Russian Federation will continue to try and influence elections in the United States this year.

"At a minimum, we expect to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople, and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States", according to the "Worldwide Threat Assessment" Mr. Coats submitted to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday morning.

Russia, China, Iran and North Korea will pose the greatest cyber threats to the USA during the next year, Coats said, adding that "these states are using cyber operations as a low-priced tool of statecraft, and we assess that they will work to use cyber operations to achieve strategic objectives unless they face clear repercussions".

"I am sick and exhausted of going to these hearings, which I have been going to for five years, where everybody talks about cyber attacks, and our country still does not have a policy or a doctrine or a strategy for dealing with them", King said. Coats backed up the statement. Nor has Trump pressed for any interagency effort to combat Russian interference, Coats conceded.

Apart from Pakistan, the "World Wide Threat Assessment" report specified the concerned threats in different areas of the world, marking North Korea as one of the most "volatile" threats to the United States in the next year.

Leaders of the intelligence panel said they'll recommend election security legislation when they release their initial findings into the 2016 Russian election interference in the coming weeks.

With U.S. congressional primary elections just weeks away, top intelligence officials are warning that Russian Federation appears intent on trying to disrupt the 2018 vote much as it did during the 2016 presidential election. "Every time he sees me, he says, 'I didn't do that, '" Trump said. I think they're going to look askance a lot more at the information that's attempted to be passed in social media ...

"The American people are smart people", Risch said. "They realize people are attempting to manipulate them, both domestically and foreign".

"This is pervasive", Coats said. "Clearly, this is something that needs to be addressed and addressed as soon as possible".

The CIA stood ready to identify elements of Russia's information campaign and work with domestic law enforcement to respond, he said, suggesting it could go on the attack if needed.

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But a large volume of information has surfaced on Russian use of social media to influence public opinion in United States public policy debates.

- Coats also took a swipe at Trump and Congress over the national debt.

"The failure to address our long-term fiscal situation has increased the national debt to over $20 trillion and growing".

Listing more such threats, Coats said that North Korea has the most volatile and confrontational weapons of mass destruction (WMD) that pose threats to the U.S. over the next year.

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

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in 2016.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said the bureau is undertaking "a lot of specific activities" to counter Russian meddling but was "not specifically directed by the president".

"The suggestion the Central Intelligence Agency was swindled is false", he said. But none of the six said the president had specifically done so.

He told a Senate hearing that reporting on the matter was "totally inaccurate".

A White House aide did not deny that Trump is skeptical, but insisted that he strongly supports the intelligence community.

"This Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story", Trump said last May, shortly after firing FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the federal probe.