Sunday, 08 December, 2019

U.S. intelligence director warns of more Russian cyberthreats

Donald Trump U.S. intelligence director warns of more Russian cyberthreats
Christy Curtis | 13 May, 2017, 10:50

Beyond terrorism, Coats said that North Korea posed a "potentially existential threat" to the United States, as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continues to try to develop a nuclear weapon that could hit the USA homeland. He says such activity has diminished since U.S.

Senators sought an assessment of when North Korea would be able to strike the USA with a nuclear weapon.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) asked three former intelligence and defense officials, "What's the current or potential cyber threat to this country that you all are most concerned about?" "We assess that ISIS maintains the capability to direct, enable, assist and inspire transnational attacks", Coats said.

The DPRK said early this month that the current crisis on the Korean Peninsula is the most unsafe in half a century since the 1950-1953 Korean War.

But, he says, the USA doesn't know if Iran will eventually decide to try to build nuclear weapons. USA forces invaded after 9/11 to defeat al-Qaida and their Taliban hosts, and President Donald Trump's administration is reviewing strategy and considering an augmentation of the current 8,500-strong US force.

On Afghanistan, Coats said the situation "will very likely continue to deteriorate, even if worldwide support is sustained".

Coats says intelligence agencies believe that the performance of Afghan national security forces battling the insurgents will worsen due to weak military leadership, ongoing desertions and combat casualties. But he warned that "left unchecked, that stalemate will deteriorate in the favor of belligerence".

The Trump administration is considering sending 3,000 to 5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to help train Afghan security forces.

White House says budget deal contains wall funding
The $1.5 billion increase in Homeland Security spending, pushing total spending for the department to more than $42 billion. They sounded a note of defeat, blaming Senate rules for a budget plan that merited closing most government operations.

"Kabul's political dysfunction and ineffectiveness will nearly certainly be the greatest vulnerability to stability in 2017", he wrote.

State-led Russian hackers remain a "major threat" to the USA government and will keep up their attacks after seeking to influence the 2016 presidential vote, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in an annual "Worldwide Threat Assessment".

Coats' assessment of the worldwide threats facing the USA, delivered before a rare public hearing before the Senate intelligence committee, also predicted that the political and security situation in Afghanistan will "almost certainly deteriorate through 2018", even if there is a modest boost in military assistance from the United States and other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

"In 2017, Russian Federation is likely to be more assertive in global affairs, more unpredictable in its approach to the United States, and more authoritarian in its approach to domestic politics", Coats said in the statement.

But more likely, Hayden said, is an attack along the lines of what the North Koreans did to Sony North America, only worse. -Chinese agreement addressing cybertheft.

They include Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA director Mike Pompeo and acting Federal Bureau of Investigation director Andrew McCabe, newly installed after Trump fired the agency's chief James Comey this week.

The very real threats to the United States - discussed at two Senate hearings on Thursday - were overshadowed by all the media speculation about President Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.

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