US sees Iran working to preserve nuclear deal

The director of national intelligence says Russian Federation and other countries, including China, North Korea and Iran, are using cyberspace to target US and its allies, and will do so in future.

Coats, in a statement prepared for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday, stood by past intelligence community assertions that only Russian officials at the highest level could have orchestrated the 2016 operation.

Coats, who was testifying on global threats facing the U.S.

And Coats said that "homegrown violent extremists remain the most frequent and unpredictable terrorist threat to the United States homeland".

His comments came as Trump is set to receive Pentagon reccomendations this week on potential options in Afghanistan.

However, Coats refused to reveal the USA intelligence community's estimation about when the DPRK would have an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of taking a nuclear warhead.

Coats said Iran was also making use of its high-tech capabilities.

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Coats said the situation will deteriorate and the Taliban will make gains, especially in rural areas. Among those options is one to reportedly send between 3,000 and 5,000 US and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops to the country to participate in the training of the Afghan security forces.

He called North Korea's work on nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles "a very significant, potentially existential threat to the United States".

If left unchecked, Stewart added, the "stalemate" will deteriorate in the Taliban's favor, risking "all the gains" from USA -backed efforts there.

Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, the Defense Intelligence Agency's director, said North Korea was at the same time developing a nuclear device and processing fissile material, aiming to miniaturize a device for a warhead to mount on such missiles. "So, they're going to put those two together at some point, but we haven't seen them do that tested end-to-end", Stewart said.

"They are on that path and they are committed to doing that", he said.

Each official answered "yes" when asked by committee Vice-Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., whether they believe Russian intelligence agencies tried to influence last year's USA presidential election by hacking computers, leaking information and spreading misinformation. The document notes that China, Iran and North Korea, as well as terrorists and criminals, are also threats. He noted Iran's support for Shia fighters backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the conflict in the country and the deployment of the nation's own forces there.

"We assess that the regime will maintain its momentum on the battlefield provided, as it's likely, that it maintains support from Iran and Russian Federation", he said.

  • Adam Floyd