World

Supported Militants To Continue Attacks Inside India, Warns US Intel Chief

Supported Militants To Continue Attacks Inside India, Warns US Intel Chief

"There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations", Coats said before the Senate Intelligence Committee's hearing on worldwide threats.

The Senate Intelligence Committee held its annual hearing on "world threats" to the US, and there wasn't much good news.

The testimony on Tuesday also covered the slew of other threats that USA intelligence agencies see facing the country, including North Korea's nuclear program, Islamist militants in the Middle East and even illicit drug trafficking, especially the smuggling of cheaply made fentanyl, a powerful opioid responsible for thousands of deaths each year.

"We expect Russian Federation 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", it added.

Russian Federation is likely to increase its attempts to influence the American electoral process after it worked to influence the 2016 presidential election, USA intelligence agencies said Tuesday.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told a congressional committee that Russian Federation and other foreign entities were likely to attack United States and European elections this year and beyond, adding that Moscow believes similar efforts successfully undermined USA democracy two years ago.

His assessment was echoed by all five other intelligence agency heads present at the hearing, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who two weeks ago stated publicly that he had "every expectation" that Russian Federation will try to influence the coming election. He said the Central Intelligence Agency has seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle, although he did not elaborate on the activity. "This is not going to change or stop", Rogers said.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., pressed Coats and other intelligence leaders on whether President Donald Trump has directed them "to take specific actions to confront and blunt Russian influence activities that are ongoing".

And after the Congress took real action against Russian Federation by slapping it with major sanctions in response to the interference, Trump completely undermined their work by declining to enforce the sanctions.

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

Even so, the intelligence agencies say they aren't sitting still. And last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told Fox News that the U.S.is seeing "certain behaviors" of Russian meddling in elections in the Northern Hemisphere, including "in the U.S." this year.

"I'm concerned that our increasing fractious political process, particularly with respect to federal spending, is threatening our ability to properly defend our nation both in the short term and especially in the long term", he said.

"We have a significant effort" to rebuff Moscow, he said. "U.S. -based, homegrown violent extremists, including inspired and self-radicalized individuals, represent the primary and most-difficult-to-detect Sunni terrorism threat in the United States", he said.

As for the Intelligence committee's own investigation into Russia's 2016 activities, committee chairman Richard Burr, R. -N.C. said he hopes to wrap up before the next round of elections begins.

Coats said "persistent and disruptive cyber operations" would continue "using elections as opportunities to undermine democracy" in the United States and its European allies.


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