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14 February 2018, 07:21 | Damon Campbell
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National intelligence leaders testified before the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday during its annual open hearing on "worldwide threats".
In testimony on the Hill, Pompeo said the agency has seen Russian activity in the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections as well as interference in the 2016 election.
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.
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.
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.
U.S. spy agencies concluded more than a year ago that Russian Federation used hacking and propaganda to try to tilt that election in favor of the Republican. Coats said foreign governments, terrorist groups, criminal organizations and individuals "are using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States".
Coats described a range of ways in which Russian Federation might try to influence this year's vote.
At the same time, Coats said he expects that "North Korea will continue to use cyber operations to raise funds, launch attacks and gather intelligence against the United States".
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"And I agree with Director Pompeo", National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers declared.
- The top US intelligence chiefs told lawmakers that they have seen signs of Russian meddling in the upcoming midterm elections. He offered to describe that analysis only in a closed, classified session.
The assessment stands in contrast to President Donald Trump, who has mocked the very notion of Russian interference in the 2016 election and lashed out at those who have suggested otherwise.
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 US voters.
Facebook reported that 126 million Americans may have seen Russian-backed political content on its platform over a two-year period.
Mr Trump has repeatedly dismissed the idea that Moscow helped him - and all allegations of collusion - as "fake news", and criticised the intelligence agencies for repeating it.
Warner asked the leaders at the witness table whether they agreed with the assessment that Russian Federation will "try to continue to intervene in our elections in 2018 and 2020".
Senate Democrats said that national cry needs to begin with President Trump. An investigation by a House intelligence committee has led to partisan squabbling between Republicans and Democrats.
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