By Ellen Nakashima and Shane Harris | Washington Post

WASHINGTON – The U.S. government’s top intelligence official said on Tuesday he expects Russia to continue using propaganda, false personas and other tactics to undermine the upcoming elections.

“There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts” to disrupt the 2016 presidential campaign “as a success,” and it “views the 2018 midterm elections” as another opportunity to conduct an attack, said Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats.

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Coats also called on lawmakers to take actions to shrink the size of the national debt, which he said “represents a dire threat to our economic and national security.” Coats said he was concerned by a “fractious” partisan environment on Capitol Hill that “is threatening our ability to properly defend our nation.”

His remarks came at the beginning of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s annual hearing on worldwide threats to national security. His assessment was echoed by all five other intelligence agency heads present at the hearing, including CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who two weeks ago stated publicly he had “every expectation” that Russia will try to influence the coming elections.

The committee’s Democratic vice chairman faulted the Trump administration for not preparing for potential Russian interference in the 2018 elections.

“Make no mistake: This threat did not begin in 2016, and it certainly didn’t end with the election,” said Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. “What we are seeing is a continuous assault by Russia to target and undermine our democratic institutions, and they are going to keep coming at us.”

“Despite all of this, the President inconceivably continues to deny the threat posed by Russia,” Warner continued. “He didn’t increase sanctions on Russia when …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

      

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