Russians meddling in US midterms: agencies

CIA chief Mike Pompeo says he’s seen evidence of Russian meddling in the US midterm elections.Three of the US’s top intelligence officials have confirmed they have seen evidence of Russian meddling in the coming midterm elections – part of what they say is Moscow’s escalating cyber assault on American and European democracies.

“We have seen Russian activity and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle,” CIA Director Mike Pompeo told the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and Admiral Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, agreed that Russia’s interference was ongoing.

“This is not going to change or stop,” Rogers said.

They did not describe the activity, other than to say it was related to information warfare.

“This is pervasive,” Coats said.

“The Russians have a strategy that goes well beyond what is happening in the United States. While they have historically tried to do these types of things, clearly in 2016 they upped their game. They took advantage, a sophisticated advantage of social media. They are doing that not only in the United States but doing it throughout Europe and perhaps elsewhere.”

US intelligence concluded Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election, which has led to the FBI investigation into possible Trump campaign connections.

Russia denies the allegations and President Donald Trump has called the FBI probe a witch hunt.

The three testified in Congress on the same day the intelligence community released its annual report on global threats.

It predicts Russian intelligence agencies will disseminate more false information over Russian state-controlled media and through fake online personas to spread anti-American views and exacerbate social and political divides in the US.

Pompeo had said earlier he expected Russia would insert itself in the midterms in November, in which Republicans and Democrats will vie for control of the House and Senate.