Pakistan developing new kinds of nuke weapons: US Intel chief

Pakistan is likely to come under intense pressure from India for back-to-back attacks on the Sunjwan camp at the FATF. Representative image

Pakistan is likely to come under intense pressure from India for back-to-back attacks on the Sunjwan camp at the FATF. Representative image

"There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 U.S. midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations", Coats said.

Beyond Russian election interference, the hearing detailed a series of serious threats to the United States, including North Korea's continued drive to develop a nuclear arsenal capable of annihilating the USA and the possibility that Pyongyang may conduct an atmospheric nuclear detonation over the Pacific after the Olympics, and the potential threat from Chinese technology embedded in US products.

United States intelligence chief Dan Coats said Tuesday that the time for a decision on Washington's response to North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs is drawing "ever closer".

He said that he expects Russian Federation to continue using propaganda, social media and other means to meddle in USA politics.

Russian Federation is likely to increase its attempts to influence the American electoral process after it worked to influence the 2016 presidential election, USA intelligence agencies said Tuesday.

Other senators asked Coats, Pompeo, Wray and their counterparts to restate their support for the 2017 assessment that concluded Russian Federation had attacked the previous year's election.

"This is not going to change or stop", said National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers.

USA intelligence agencies concluded past year that Moscow sought to influence the 2016 presidential campaign in favor of then-Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Officials also basically guaranteed the Russians are going to continue meddling in US elections this year.

Israel launches heavy air strike in Syria after F-16 crash
The military says it is "ready for various scenarios and will continue to act according to situation assessments". Iranian and Iran-backed Shi'ite forces, including Hezbollah , have deployed widely in Syria in support of Assad.

Executives from social media companies such as Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. have testified repeatedly in Congress about Russia's purported disinformation drive aimed at USA voters. Jack Reed, D-R.I., to press officials on whether Trump has directed them to take "specific actions to confront and to blunt" Russian interference activities.

Coats was joined by the heads of the CIA, FBI, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency. "In particular, I'm anxious about the close relationship between the Chinese government and Chinese technology firms, particularly in the area of commercialisation of our surveillance technology and efforts to shape telecommunication equipment markets", he said.

"The tools they use are everything from hacking into companies and critical infrastructure and defence contractors - everybody you can imagine - to using our immigration system against us, to even our universities", Rubio said.

Many experts, meanwhile, believe that Russian meddling in the presidential race was but a foretaste of what is to come - not just from the Kremlin, but also from other hostile states and private actors.

Coats told a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee that despite Washington's requests to do more, the Pakistan military is only trying to appear tougher against the Taliban and Haqqani militants.

Putin and his officials have vehemently denied any and all suggestions that they meddled in the 2016 presidential election, accusing the USA of stoking Russophobia.

"Frankly, the United States is under attack", said Coats, "under attack by entities that are using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States".

Terrorism. The threat of terrorist attacks "is pronounced", Coats said, including from the Islamic State, al-Qaida, Hezbollah and Iran-sponsored activities.

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