US Intelligence Chief warns of deteriorating security in Afghanistan

US Intelligence Chief warns of deteriorating security in Afghanistan

Iran "continues to leverage cyber espionage, propaganda, and attacks to support its security priorities, influence events and foreign perceptions, and counter threats-including against USA allies in the region", Coats testified.

The National Intelligence Director urged China's President Xi Jinping to do more.

On North Korea, the statement says Kim Jong Un's regime is "poised to conduct its first" flight test of an intercontinental ballistic missile this year, "which would serve as a milestone toward a more reliable threat to the US mainland". Coats declined to provide such details in an open hearing.

Coats says that the Kremlin has taken a much more aggressive "cyber posture", which "was evident in Russia's efforts to influence the 2016 United States election".

The Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, warned that North Korean risks still remain and the threat is very real.

On Afghanistan, Coats said the situation "will very likely continue to deteriorate, even if worldwide support is sustained".

In addition, Coats said that "Russia is likely to be more aggressive in global affairs, more unpredictable in its approach to the U.S.".

According to Defense One, Coats spoke to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and talked about the growing number of threats facing the homeland and potentially shrinking the agencies that handle them.

Coalition backed on budget bank levy
Mr Bowen said his party was still dissecting the increase to the Medicare levy, which it is proposed will raise about $8 billion. Contributions and earnings will be taxed at 15 per cent rather than at marginal rates.

Coats said Iran was also making use of its high-tech capabilities. The North's public claims suggest it could conduct its first flight of an intercontinental ballistic missile this year.

The deal lengthens the time it would take Iran to develop enough material for a nuclear weapon "from a few months to about a year", he said.

The Trump administration is considering sending 3,000 to 5,000 additional troops to Afghanistan to help train Afghan security forces. The performance of Afghan national security forces will worsen because of weak military leadership, desertions and combat casualties, he predicted.

'We judge that Tehran would choose ballistic missiles as its preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, if it builds them'.

"Kabul's political dysfunction and ineffectiveness will nearly certainly be the greatest vulnerability to stability in 2017", he wrote in a 26-page statement summarizing the yearly joint report to Congress by the nation's intelligence agencies delivered ahead of his committee appearance.

The nuclear program of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) posed a "potentially existential threat" to the United States, U.S. National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said on Thursday.

Sunni extremists remain the primary terrorist threat to the USA, with home-grown actors posing the biggest concern.

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