In­tel sees signs of Rus­sian med­dling in US midterms

Manteca Bulletin - - Local/ Nation -

WASH­ING­TON (AP) — Three of the na­tion’s top in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials con­firmed Tues­day 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.

“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.”

U. S. 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.

Pom­peo had said ear­lier that he ex­pected that Rus­sia would insert it­self in the midterms in which Repub­li­cans and Democrats will vie for con­trol of the House and Se­nate. 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. But the lat­est tes­ti­mony ac­tu­ally con­firmed that it is oc­cur­ring.

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