Burr, King preview Senate Intelligence panel's security recommendations for voting systems

Coats: Election meddling 'ongoing'

In an op-ed published earlier this month, Senator Heinrich and New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver outlined the critical work that needs to be done at the federal and state levels to protect the security and integrity of our election systems before voters go to the polls this year. They didn't describe the activity, other than to say it was related to information warfare.

Officials refused to be drawn into specifics but said they would offer further details in a classified session in the afternoon. She stated that she did not believe they had interfered with the election results, but she said that they had gained access.

Facebook has said some 126 million Americans may have seen Russian-backed political content on Facebook over a two-year period. The report details the risk of conflict with North Korea, as well as the longtime rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The other major global threat discussed, as expected, was the continued development of nuclear weapons by North Korea, with analysts commenting that they expect the regime to test a high altitude missile over the Pacific ocean sometime in 2018.

"In the next year, Russian intelligence and security services will continue to probe US and allied critical infrastructures, as well as target the United States, NATO and allies for insights into USA policy".

- Top U.S. national security officials said on Tuesday they had "no doubt" Russian Federation will try to interfere in the 2018 mid-term elections, adding Moscow believes it succeeded in its effort to undermine U.S. democracy by meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign.

"Russians stepped up their game with cyber, in particular, in 2016", Coats said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

Trump has at times questioned that assessment and has referred to ongoing probes into election interference, which include any potential collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin, as a "witch hunt".

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"This situation is unsustainable, as I think we all know", Coats insisted.

While intelligence officials have said that Russian Federation is interfering with the American democratic process, President Donald Trump has continued to deny their involvement. "Under attack by entities that are using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States".

The 2018 threat assessment presented by Mr. Coats on Tuesday says expects 's activities could be a factor in the upcoming American midterm elections.

King turned to CIA Director Mike Pompeo, asking, "It just never seems to happen". "We will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won't be great", Pompeo recently told the BBC.

Sen. Jack Reed, a Rhode Island Democrat, asked several of the intelligence chiefs whether the President had asked them to specifically focus on blocking the possibility of Russia's meddling.

Coats and the other officials also warned of cyber threats from a multitude of sources. At the same time, "Tehran's desire to deter the United States might drive it to field" an intercontinental ballistic missile, according to Coats.

And Coats warned that cyber threats are coming not only from governments, but terrorist groups, criminal organizations, students in dorms and people in their basements.

The intelligence leaders said that the USA is vulnerable cyber attacks not only from Russian Federation but other countries such as North Korea, China, and Iran. "What we are seeing is a continuous assault by Russian Federation to target and undermine our democratic institutions, and they are going to keep coming at us".

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