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Intelligence Chief Says Russia Eyeing Midterm Elections
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Vladimir Putin. Photo courtesy of Politico.

Summary: US intelligence officials said that Russia plans to meddle with the upcoming midterm elections. 

Russia is likely to meddle with the US’s midterm elections, according to the Washington Post. Top intelligence officials said on Tuesday that Russia is likely to use bots and people susceptible to their messages to continue to reach their goal of weakening faith in American democracy.

  
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The intelligence chiefs told the Senate Intelligence Committee that they were concerned about the upcoming midterm elections. They said that Russia believes its interference in the 2016 Presidential Election was successful, and they believe that the next election will be a chance to build upon their goal.

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations,” Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, said, according to the Washington Post. “Throughout the entire community, we have not seen any evidence of any significant change from last year.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, Coats was joined by leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the F.B.I. and other intelligence agencies.

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Mike Pompeo, director of the C.I.A., said that there has been activity, which has given them the impression that Russia is working on interfering with the next election.

“We have seen Russian activities and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle,” said Pompeo.



Earlier this month, Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security, confirmed that Russia had hacked voter systems in 2016. She stated that she did not believe they had interfered with the election results, but she said that they had gained access.

While intelligence officials have said that Russia is interfering with the American democratic process, President Donald Trump has continued to deny their involvement. According to the Washington Post, he believes denials of Russian meddling and has mocked the notion of it.

American intelligence officials said that Russian hackers are scanning American electoral systems and using bot armies on social media to spread propaganda. Additionally, Russia seems to want to spread real and fake news that will deepen the political divide in this country.

“We expect Russia 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,” Coats said.

The intelligence leaders said that the US is vulnerable cyber attacks not only from Russia but other countries such as North Korea, China, and Iran.

On Tuesday, the intelligence community also spoke about other American threats such as North Korea’s nuclear program, Middle Eastern Islamist militants, and drug trafficking.

What do you think of the news that Russia may interfere with the midterm elections? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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