The heads of the United States intelligence agencies (L-R) Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo testifiy before the Senate Intelligence Committee May 11, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Russian political interference is spreading to more countries around the world, in part because the Internet and social media have made such meddling cheaper, according to senior U.S. intelligence officials.
“It sweeps across Europe and other places,” Daniel Coats, the director of national intelligence, told the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday.
“The Russians have upped their game using social media and other opportunities in ways we haven’t seen before,” said Coats.
The hearing, which included the directors of six U.S. intelligence agencies, covered a broad range of worldwide threats, from Venezuela to Afghanistan.
The officials said Russia has a history of interfering in other countries’ political processes, but it has become more active and more aggressive in recent years.
“We have to put it into context: This is not new,” said CIA Director Michael Pompeo. “Only the cost has been lessened.”
Coats told the panel that Russia is a threat to U.S. government, military, diplomatic, business and critical infrastructure.
“It’s a great threat to our democratic process,” said Coats.