Russia will likely be the “most capable and aggressive source” of influence in forthcoming U.S. elections, according to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
According to a lengthy statement given to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Coats said influence operations “especially through cyber means” will remain a threat to the U.S. to “shape foreign perceptions and to influence populations.”
Coats added the U.S. intelligence committee will continue to assess the country’s efforts “to disseminate false information via Russian state-controlled media and covert online personas about U.S. activities to encourage anti-U.S. political views.”
The upcoming 2018 midterm elections are a potential target, Coats said, adding that the intelligence community expects Russia to use “propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokespeople and other means of influence to try to exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States.”
Under attack by entities that are using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States,” he said.