FBI Director Says No Bias at Bureau

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Russian Federation uses these tools - including the cyber weapon - because "it's relatively cheap, it's low risk, it offers what they perceive as plausible deniability and it's proven to be effective at sowing division", he said. "There should be no doubt that Russia perceives that its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 USA midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations".

CIA chief Mike Pompeo echoed the threat, saying the agency has already seen evidence of "Russian activities and intentions to have an impact on the next election cycle".

But Sen. Angus King, a ME independent who caucuses with Democrats, argued that Trump's refusal to acknowledge Russia's role in 2016 makes collective federal action impossible. The fighting took place on February 7 and 8 in eastern Syria between pro-regime forces and fighters from the US -led coalition against the Islamic State.

Coats is speaking Tuesday at a congressional hearing on worldwide threats.

Judging from most reports of the Committee session, the intelligence agencies in the U.S view cyber security as a primary area of concern, with Russia, China, and Iran designated as the main potential perpetrators of cyber-attacks, reports CBS. Both are "widely understood to have extraordinary ties to the Chinese government", Burr said.

"I'm sick and exhausted of going to these hearings for five years where everyone talks about it and our country still does not have a policy or doctrine or a strategy to deal [with foreign hackers.] This is not an attack on the current administration only, the prior administration didn't do it either", King said.

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America will need to soon decide how to confront the threat of North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, a top official said. But he took issue with a media report that said the $100,000 spent by the administration ultimately failed to acquire the stolen hacking tools.

- Wray appeared to break with the White House timeline of events regarding former staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned after allegations that he abused two ex-wives became public. "In our view, the suggestion the Central Intelligence Agency was swindled is false". Wray said that while there was a limit to what he can say about the content of Porter's background investigation, he said he was confident the FBI followed "established protocols" when conducting the background investigation.

China also intends to use its "One Belt, One Road" initiative to increase its reach to geostrategic locations across Eurasia, Africa and the Pacific, he said.

"We're deeply concerned about the risk of allowing any company or entity that is beholden to foreign governments that don't share our values to gain positions of power inside our telecommunications networks", Wray said.

"If we discuss this openly, then the public - who are really the targets of these operations - will be prepared and less susceptible to any influence if and when it does happen", Hultquist said.

The panel's ranking Democrat, Sen.

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