Published: Wed, February 14, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Trump still unconvinced Russian Federation meddled in 2016 election

Trump still unconvinced Russian Federation meddled in 2016 election

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday that he believes the growing, trillion-dollar national debt represents a "dire threat to our economic and national security".

In same line, Coats warned: "We hope that Russian Federation will continue to use propaganda, false people, simpatéticos spokesmen and or means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in U.S.".

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the ranking Democrat on the committee, said it's been more than a year since the 2016 election, but the US still has no plan to battle foreign interference in elections.

"There should be no doubt that Russia perceives that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations".

"We need to inform the American people this is real, this is happening, and the resilience needed for s to stand up and say, we're not going to allow some Russian to tell us how to vote, how we ought to run our country", he said.

USA intelligence chiefs said Tuesday that Russian attempts to meddle in United States politics are continuing unabated - and pose a threat to mid-term congressional elections in November. Amid pressure, Trump conceded during a press conference as president-elect that, "As far as hacking, I think it was Russian Federation".

Coats also touched on other national security concerns, including border security, which he says is "in need of drastic improvement" with drugs and gang members flowing into the USA on a daily basis.

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 USA over the next year.

Trump "hasn't even tweeted a single concern" about Russian interference, Warner said. Pompeo deferred questions about response to Russian Federation later in the hearing, as well, telling Jack Reed (D-RI) that "We have a significant effort, I'm happy to talk to you about in closed session, and it's not just our effort".

"This is an existential threat potentially to the United States but also to North Korea", Coats said. "From U.S. businesses to the federal government to state and local governments, the United States is being threatened by cyberattacks every day".

Mr Coats's comments came as the Trump administration works to address rising tensions with North Korea over the regime's nuclear weapons programme.

The Trump administration has stressed its preference for a diplomatic solution to the crisis over North Korea's development of nuclear weapons that are capable of hitting the U.S., but it has warned that all options on are on the table, including military ones, to prevent this.

Without directly criticising Trump's "America First" foreign policy, Coats said, "US allies' and partners' uncertainty about the willingness and capability of the United States to maintain its global commitments may drive them to consider reorienting their policies, particularly regarding trade, away from Washington".

Intelligence officials emphasized that they remain concerned about the increasing "potential for surprise" in the cyber realm as "both nation states and malign actors become more emboldened and better equipped in the use of increasingly widespread cyber toolkits".

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 U.S. in the next year. "How are we going to get them to stop doing this if all we do is patch our software and try to defend ourselves?"

Coats said the details of any meddling needs to be shared with the American people.

More than 16 years after the United States launched military operations in Afghanistan in response to the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban's ally al-Qaeda remains a threat in the region, also notes the analysis.

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

This is as near a confirmation as has been forthcoming from the United States of Pakistan's continues ties to terrorism, despite its claims that it has thrown out all terrorists, specially those operating across the country's western border in Afghanistan, where they attack US-led coalition forces.

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