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Monday October 22nd, 2018 3:12PM

The Latest: Intel chief testifies about North Korean nukes

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. intelligence agencies' global threats report (all times local):

11:40 a.m.

The Trump administration's intelligence chief says North Korea's development of nuclear weapons poses a potentially existential threat to the United States.

Dan Coats says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also views any U.S. attack or effort to force him to give up his nukes as an existential threat to his own leadership.

Coats expressed concern that North Korean decision-making is heavily centered on Kim.

Coats is speaking Tuesday at a congressional hearing on worldwide threats. He said the U.S. has adopted a policy of "maximum pressure" and seeks a peaceful settlement with North Korea.

But CIA director Mike Pompeo said the U.S. intelligence community has assessed how the North would react to a U.S. military attack. He declined to discuss the content of that assessment publicly.

___

11:20 a.m.

Three of the nation's top intelligence officials say the U.S. has seen Russian activity aimed at meddling in the upcoming midterm elections.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Moscow's intention is to have an impact on the next election cycle.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and Adm. Mike Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, agreed.

They didn't describe the activity, other than to say it was related to information warfare.

They told members of the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday that they would provide more details in closed session.

The intelligence officials say the information will be shared with state and local governments and state election officials and that the U.S. has to come up with ways to punish and prevent foreign meddling in U.S. elections.

___

9:30 a.m.

A new U.S. intelligence report predicts Russia will meddle in this year's midterm elections as it pursues bolder cyber operations and false information campaigns against America and its allies.

The global threats report issued Tuesday also says the risk of conflict with North Korea is higher today than at any time since the end of the Cold War. So, too, is the rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia that's destabilizing the Middle East.

Cyberattacks are on the rise.

National Intelligence Director Dan Coats tells The Associated Press they're coming from governments, militant groups, criminal organizations and people with the technical know-how to breach U.S. agencies, intelligence bodies and the military. He says Washington must better craft responses to minimize these attacks.

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