Top intelligence officials contradict Trump administration on greatest threats to nation

Top intelligence officials contradict Trump administration on greatest threats to nation
Top U.S. intelligence officials testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday about the greatest threats to the U.S. at home and abroad.

(CNN/Gray News) – Top U.S. intelligence officials testified on Capitol Hill Tuesday about the greatest threats to the U.S. at home and abroad.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Gina Haspel and FBI Director Christopher Wray presented to the Senate intelligence committee their annual assessment of global threats against the nation.

In some key areas – like Syria and North Korea – their assessments contradicted President Donald Trump’s recent claims.

The Trump administration said ISIS has been defeated in Syria. Coats, however, said it’s still a threat.

“ISIS is intent on resurging, and still commands thousands of fighters in Iraq and Syria,” he told senators.

And with Trump planning a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Coats said the regime appears unlikely to give up its nuclear stockpiles.

“Its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival,” Coats said. “Our assessment is bolstered by our observations of some activity that is inconsistent with full denuclearization.”

The officials said Russians used social media to try to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections, and other foreign actors may eye similar tactics for 2020.

They also said China appears to be strengthening its relationship with Russia.

Wray described the Chinese counterintelligence threat as “more vexing, more challenging, more comprehensive and more concerning than any counterintelligence threat I can think of.”

Wray also said his agency is still assessing the overall impact of the partial government shutdown. FBI agents were among those on the job without pay during the 35-day stretch.

“What’s quite clear is that it was incredibly negative and painful for the 37,000 men and women of the FBI and their families,” Wray said.

The intelligence chiefs made no mention of a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, over which Trump has considered declaring a national emergency.

The officials also said the Iran nuclear deal – from which the Trump administration withdrew last year – is temporarily lessening Iran’s nuclear threat, because Iran continues cooperating with other parties who remain in the agreement.

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