The US Head of intelligence: Russian Federation is the most aggressive foreign subject

US national intelligence director Dan Coats identified Russia as the most aggressive foreign actor cyber attacker

"The system was blinking red".

He also said that China, Iran and North Korea were the other offenders, adding that they were targeting the US's digital infrastructure relentlessly to impact the US's national government, state and local governments, military, businesses, etc.

US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats warned on Friday of a looming devastating cyber assault on critical US infrastructure, saying almost two decades after the September 11 attacks the "warning lights are blinking red again".

Russian Federation has been "the most aggressive foreign actor, no question".

"But all of these desperate efforts share a common objective to exploit America's openness in order to undermine our long-term competitive advantage".

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Every day, those countries "are penetrating our digital infrastructure and conducting a range of cyber intrusions and attacks against targets in the United States", he said.

Invoking Sept. 11, Mr. Coats said that the wave of recent assaults waged against targets including government, businesses and energy sectors is reminiscent of the flurry of Al Qaeda activity witnessed by USA intelligence officials prior to the terrorist attacks.

Mr. Coats, a former senator who previously served on the chamber's intelligence committee, made the remarks the same day the Department of Justice announced criminal charges against a dozen Russian military officials accused of hacking Democratic Party targets during the 2016 US presidential race.

Coats added, "What's serious about the Russians is their intent". "They have capabilities, significant capabilities".

The top USA intelligence official painted a grim picture on Friday of the many types of cyber threats the US faces across critical infrastructure sectors and highlighted the ways the government is countering them.

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In his remarks, Coats pointed to the indictment as showing "exactly what they're trying to do or what they've done through their military intelligence relative to elections".

"Every time [Putin] sees me, he says, 'I didn't do that", Trump said past year, referring to Russian meddling in the US election.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, like other officials in her department, made a similar assessment that Russian Federation has not yet targeted the 2018 midterm elections with a "scale or scope" of their influence campaign in the 2016 presidential election.

Intelligence officials have seen aggressive attempts, including by those "masquerading as Americans", to manipulate social media and to "spread propaganda focused on hot-button issues that are meant to exacerbate socio-political divisions", Coats noted. And the president has expressed a willingness to believe Putin's denials.

Trump said he had plans to raise the issue of Russia's alleged meddling in the United States elections of 2016 although after the indictment of the Russian agents, the angry Democrats demanded Trump to call off the summit and return home.

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