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Intel Heads Say Russia Will Interfere in 2018 Elections

by Countable | 3.9.18

What’s the story?

On Tuesday morning the Senate Intelligence Committee held their annual hearing on global threats. Questions and testimony focused primarily on Russian election interference, as well as accusations of political bias in the media and via the Nunes memo.

Among the officials testifying were Christopher Wray, FBI Director, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

In response to questions about the likelihood of Russian election interference in future elections, Coats testified, "There should be no doubt that Russia perceived its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations."

FBI Director Christopher Wray forcefully pushed back against accusations of political bias within the agency:

"It is the finest group of professionals and public servants I could hope to work for. Many times a day I’m confronted with unbelievable examples of integrity and professionalism and grit. There are 37,000 people in the FBI who do unbelievable things around the world, and you’d never know it from watching the news, but we actually have more than two investigations and most of them do a lot to keep Americans safe."

He also cast doubt on the memo released by the House Intelligence Committee, authored by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and his staff, that alleged political bias fueled the FBI’s investigation into former Trump campaign staffer Carter Page:

"We provided thousands of documents that were very sensitive and lots of briefings and it’s very hard for anybody to distill all of that into 3 1/2 pages."

Multiple officials warned of threats from North Korea. Director Coats testified that they expect more missile tests to occur in the future, and that North Korea is unlikely to give up their nuclear capability:

"Pyongyang has repeatedly stated that it does not intend to negotiate its nuclear weapons and missiles away because the regime views nuclear weapons are critical to its security…In the wake of its ICBM tests last year, we expect to see North Korea to press ahead with additional missile tests this year and its foreign minister has threatened an atmospheric nuclear test over the Pacific."

Officials were also questioned on the details of issues with security clearances for White House staff in light of the recent scandal surrounding former aide Rob Porter. Coats testified regarding interim security clearances, such as Porter had, and that he believes the security clearance system is in need of reform:

"I might just say that, I think sometimes it is necessary to have some type of preliminary clearance in order to fill a spot. But I have publicly stated if that is the case, the access has to be limited in terms of the kind of information they can be in a position to receive or not receive. So I think that is something that we have to do as a part of our security clearance review…The process is broken. It needs to be reformed."

What do you think?

Were you surprised by any of the testimony? Did the committee cover all the questions you hoped the would? What do you see as the most significant global threat facing the United States at this point, and is the government doing enough to combat it?

Tell us in the comments what you think, then use the Take Action button to tell your reps!

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: One America News via Twitter )

Countable

Written by Countable

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(138)
  • Jeff
    02/13/2018
    ···

    The republicans have traded our country for money and power. They have demonized our democracy. They spit in the face of hard working Americans. They are a cancer on the landscape. They must be stopped before they totally destroy this once great nation.

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  • Rebecca
    02/13/2018
    ···

    Obviously Russia will try to interfere again because we have done NOTHING to seriously address their successful meddling in 2016. We need to make sure Mueller’s job is secure and continue to fight against misinformation.

    Like (48)
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  • BeStrong
    02/13/2018
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    Dear congress...why are you not taking action regarding the the Russian attack on our democratic process...paper ballots until you develop voter security...AND this just in... per Israeli police authorities, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be indicted over alleged bribery cases 1.)for interfering with the free press, having coerced the media to support/suppress news stories. Are you really going to try to control the American free press? I can’t wait to do my part to vote you all out. #Vote2018 #Vote2020. #enough

    Like (29)
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  • Donna
    02/13/2018
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    To allow the White House get away with its sloppy security standards is unconscionable, Senator Portman!

    Like (28)
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  • Truly
    02/13/2018
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    Why would the Trump administration kill the golden goose? Russia is well on its way to getting trump as a puppet dictator and the US as western Russia.

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  • Clint
    02/13/2018
    ···

    There is nothing more important to this country at the moment than our president. What I want to know is what are you planning on doing to protect this country and it’s people from literally everything he does. I could give you a huge list but it’s been done. You’re all grown men. You know what’s happening. So you either agree with it or your scared. So I say this to you all. Man up or we find someone else who will.

    Like (23)
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  • Christen
    02/13/2018
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    Voting is an integral part of democracy. Between the Russians, gerrymandering, and voter suppression - we have to do better. You take our taxes now let us be represented!

    Like (21)
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  • Rebecca
    02/13/2018
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    The intelligence agency are collecting all info on Russians interference in elections including tampering with voter rolls. They are formulating responses but that is where they stop until the president directs them to do something. The president hasn’t even stated he believes Russia did anything. While we watch, he sells our democracy out rather than say or do anything to his beloved Putin. Even worse is that Faux News watchers are rooting him on saying ‘ain’t he great ‘. I want to be ill.

    Like (16)
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  • Sheryl
    02/13/2018
    ···

    I was shocked to hear China is buying up every corporation in the US they can get their hands on and has the AI expertise to shut us down in a heartbeat.

    Like (16)
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  • Timnyc
    02/13/2018
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    Why are we in bed with Russia.They are and now more than ever penetrating our democracy at all levels starting in the WH .. This is unbelievable and a Dangerous attitude to be acceptable to our leaders. We must hold them all accountable for their actions.

    Like (10)
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  • Jenn
    02/13/2018
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    Action needs to be taken so the interference is limited. Back to paper ballots perhaps? I'm not sure what the answer is, but hacked elections are not serving the American people. We are losing so much because of the last election.

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  • Sheryl
    02/13/2018
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    Considering the 2016 election shenanigans by the Russians I was stunned to hear that the WH asked them to keep tabs on it but no one had asked them to actually DO anything about it 😳

    Like (9)
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  • Bruno
    02/13/2018
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    Up hold the constitution ..country over party. 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

    Like (8)
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  • Deirdre
    02/13/2018
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    Of course because even though sanctions were voted on trump never gave the sanctions because he is working for Russia

    Like (8)
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  • Sandra
    02/14/2018
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    For Republicans to ignore serious intelligence warnings from the FBI and to suggest the very agency that is working to protect us is “traitorous” or should not investigate EVERY threat to our country, including possible collusion of TRUMP/PENCE with Russia during and even before the campaign, seems traitorous in itself. Vote the bums out, in spite of what the Russians are doing to help them! (Can you imagine the uproar if the Russians were working wit Democrats or had HELPED Hillary?)

    Like (7)
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  • Marylynn
    02/14/2018
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    And pray tell, what are our lawmakers, government officials going to do about it, nothing. It's their sure fire way of winning the upcoming elections. And since nothing has happened to Comrade Bone Spurs for colluding with Russia, they figure they'll get away with it too. We need to go back to a paper ballot and the tallying should be done by hand. The Russians can't hack that system... So, it may take longer, but at least we would know our voters weren't altered.

    Like (6)
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  • Marcus
    02/13/2018
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    We need to be taking steps to get our elections back!

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  • Jack
    02/13/2018
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    Let’s not make the same mistake we did last time. Let’s treat this as a serious problem it is. We need to open our eyes and start looking at the facts.

    Like (5)
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  • Joe
    02/13/2018
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    If we have credible Intel stating that Russia could very well interfere with the 2018 elections possibly along with our 2020 elections. Then I would expect Congress to act on this information and I especially expect our security agencies step up and figure out how to protect our political institutions. Now France was dealing with the same thing during their last 2017 election of their Prime Minister and they figured out how to beat the hackers at their own game. Here’s a thought, how about those same security agencies I spoke of use the same tactics to protect our free election system from foreign states.

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  • Mark
    02/14/2018
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    Why wouldn’t they? It worked once. So, why not keep doing it. They can continue to mold America into what they want. Besides, other than imposing more sanctions, what would America do to penalize them? Lmao

    Like (4)
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