Intel chief: Russia sought to influence Americans but did not compromise midterm elections

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Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Friday that Russia launched influence campaigns but did not directly interfere with any voting systems in last month’s midterm elections.

Coats said in a statement that Russia and other actors like China and Iran “conducted influence activities and messaging campaigns targeted at the United States to promote their strategic interests.”

However, the intelligence community did not find any signs indicating “any compromise of our nation’s election infrastructure that would have prevented voting, changed vote counts, or disrupted the ability to tally votes,” according to Coats.

{mosads}The intelligence chief also said officials did not assess the impact of the influence campaigns.

“The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion,” Coats said.

The statement was released as the Office of the Director of National Intelligence submitted its assessment of any foreign interference in the midterm elections, as required under an executive order signed by President Trump earlier this year.

That report was not publicly released, but is now under consideration by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

While no entity was found to have successfully compromised the midterms, the influence campaigns will likely put pressure on Trump to take retaliatory action against Russia and prevent the country from doing so again in the upcoming 2020 presidential election.

He has faced criticism for not doing enough to respond to past Russian election interference. The U.S. has imposed several rounds of sanctions on the country and some entities and individuals over their roles in the election meddling.

A previous U.S. intelligence assessment determining that Russia had interfered in the 2016 presidential election sent shockwaves throughout the country, spurring calls to take action against Russia.

And in the run-up to the midterms, officials including Coats warned that Russia was again attempting to meddle in the election.

The DOJ also unveiled charges against a Russian national just weeks before this year’s elections for her role in executing a Russian influence operation geared toward impacting the midterms.

Lawmakers also told The Hill this past week that they believed the assessment would find that Russia is still attempting to interfere in the U.S. political process.

And the Treasury Department imposed sanctions this week against Russian military officers for alleged interference in the 2016 election.

Tags Dan Coats Dan Coats Donald Trump Donald Trump election interference Election Security Russia Vladimir Putin
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