The November midterm elections are vulnerable to the Russian interference that plagued the 2016 presidential election, the Trump administration’s top intelligence official said Tuesday.
Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned the Senate Intelligence Committee that Moscow could undertake cyber-influence operations in the coming congressional elections similar to those it stands of accused of running in 2016.
.. “Influence operations, especially through cyber means, will remain a significant threat to U.S. interests as they are cow-cost, relatively low-risk and deniable,” wrote Mr. Coats, a former Republican Indiana senator appointed by Mr. Trump to the top intelligence job in his administration last year. “Russia probably will be the most capable and aggressive source of this threat in 2018.”
.. Mr. Coats, along with the leaders of the National Security Agency and Central Intelligence Agency, told the panel they had already seen evidence Russian intends to interfere in the 2018 elections, but declined to elaborate, citing the public nature of the hearing.
.. Russia’s goal, Mr. Coats said, was to “create wedges that reduce trust and confidence in democratic processes.”
.. Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo suggested that North Korea leader Kim Jong Un would be reluctant to give up his nuclear arsenal for fear that it would undermine his standing at home.
.. “The impacts of the long-term trends toward a warming climate, more air pollution, biodiversity loss, and water scarcity are likely to fuel economic and social discontent—and possible upheaval—through 2018,” Mr. Coats’s assessment found.