Photos: MCT, Reuters
Trump and Putin
Photos: MCT, Reuters

Moscow mystery: CIA sources disappear

US officials say US intelligence remains 'in the dark' when it comes to Putin's intentions ahead of November's midterm elections, following the 'silencing' of Russian intelligence sources who 'went underground, but most likely were not killed.'

The New York Times reported Friday that US officials say the CIA remains "in the dark" about Putin's intentions towards the US midterm elections, but they also say they "do not believe the agents were killed."



The officials assume that the CIA sources "went underground because of aggressive intelligence activity" by Russian agents—including a military-grade nerve agent against former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter in England this March.


Officials said they were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent first developed by the Soviet Union. Russia has denied it had anything to do with the first known use of such a toxin on European soil since World War Two.



 (Photos: Reuters, MCT)
(Photos: Reuters, MCT)

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump's top aides accused Russia of trying to intervene in the midterm elections, as it did in the 2016 presidential election.


The Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coates said in a White House briefing that the United States is making great efforts to protect the November election campaign and the 2020 presidential election from foreign intervention. The top US intelligence official stood by what he called “clear” assessments of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.


About three days ago, the US imposed sanctions on two Russian citizens and two companies, Russian and Slovak, due to cyber activity, the US Treasury Department said.


The announcement regarding the sanctions was given a day after American Senator Rand Paul said he had passed on a letter from Trump to Putin, in which the US president calls for cooperation between the two countries.


Following a summit with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Trump has cast doubt on Russia's involvement in the 2016 election, arousing the wrath of Democrats and Republicans who said he was ignoring the threat to American democracy.



Trump and Putin at the Helsinki summit  (AFP)
Trump and Putin at the Helsinki summit (AFP)


After the Helsinki summit last month, Trump tweeted: "I have great confidence in my intelligence people. But, I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”


Trump was under tremendous pressure by his own party to apologize for his remarks. With Putin at his side, Trump later said that he didn't "see any reason why" Russia would try to interfere in the US election.


Meanwhile, US intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election to sway the vote to Trump. A federal special counsel is investigating potential collusion by the Trump campaign with Moscow.


After an attempt to break into the US Democratic National Committee’s voter database had been thwarted, US Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen said those meddling in the US election will pay a “high price."



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According to US officials, Russia's illegal activities includes criminal efforts to prevent voters from voting, providing illegal funding for the campaign, cyber-attacks on computer systems at polling stations, and hacking into US officials' computers. "We will continue to monitor and warn against any such attempt," added Coates.


On Tuesday, a few days before the White House briefing, Facebook said it had identified a "sophisticated" political cyber-attack, designed to influence the upcoming elections in the US. According to three sources, dozens of fake Facebook accounts and pages posted political content towards the midterm elections.


Robert Muller, the special prosecutor appointed by Donald Trump, leads the investigation into the Russian meddling in the 2016 election, which also examines the ties between the Russians and Trump's campaign.






פרסום ראשון: 08.25.18, 15:05
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