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CIA Chief Says Russia Will Try To Meddle In Midterm Elections

CIA Director Mike Pompeo (file photo)

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has said Russia will target U.S. midterm elections in November as part of the Kremlin's efforts to influence domestic politics across the West.

"I haven't seen a significant decrease in their activity," Pompeo said in an interview with the BBC aired on January 30.

Asked if Russia would try to influence the midterm elections, the CIA chief said, "Of course. I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that."

“But I am confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election, that it will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won't be great,” he added.

U.S. intelligence agencies said in January 2017 that they had determined that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a concerted hacking-and-propaganda campaign aimed at influencing the U.S. presidential election last year, with the goals of undermining faith in the electoral process, denigrating Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton, and improving President Donald Trump's chances of winning.

U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller and three congressional panels are investigating the alleged meddling and whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Trump denies there was any collusion and Putin has denied that Russia interfered in the election, despite what U.S. officials say is substantial evidence.

Pompeo also told the BBC that Chinese efforts to exert covert influence over the West were just as concerning as Russian subversion.

"Think about the scale of the two economies," Pompeo said of Russia and China. "The Chinese have a much bigger footprint upon which to execute that mission than the Russians do."

"We can watch very focused efforts to steal American information, to infiltrate the United States with spies, with people who are going to work on behalf of the Chinese government against America," he also said.

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