US intelligence sees signs of Russian meddling in upcoming midterm elections

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Associated Press

Three of the nation's top intelligence officials confirmed today that they have seen evidence of Russian meddling in the upcoming midterm elections — part of what they say is Moscow's escalating cyber assault on American and European democracies.

Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., right, greets FBI Director Christopher Wray, left, before a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on worldwide threats, Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018, in Washington. Also pictured is CIA Director Mike Pompeo, second from left. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Chairman Richard Burr, right, greets FBI Director Christopher Wray, before a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on worldwide threats.

Source: Associated Press

"We have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle," CIA Director Mike Pompeo told the Senate intelligence committee.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and Adm. Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, agreed that Russia's interference is ongoing. "This is not going to change or stop," Rogers said.

They didn't describe the activity, other than to say it was related to information warfare.

"This is pervasive," Coats said. "The Russians have a strategy that goes well beyond what is happening in the United States.

While they have historically tried to do these types of things, clearly in 2016 they upped their game. They took advantage, a sophisticated advantage of social media. They are doing that not only in the United States but doing it throughout Europe and perhaps elsewhere."

US intelligence concluded Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election, which has led to the current FBI investigation into possible Trump campaign connections. Russia denies the allegations and President Donald Trump has called the FBI probe a witch hunt.

The three testified in Congress on the same day that the intelligence community released its annual report on global threats.

The report predicted Russian intelligence agencies will disseminate more false information over Russian state-controlled media and through fake online personas to spread anti-American views and exacerbate social and political divides in the United States.


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