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Russia ‘will target US mid-term elections’ says CIA chief

The director of the CIA expects that Russia will target the US mid-term elections later this year.

Mike Pompeo told the BBC there had been no significant diminishing of Russian attempts at subversion in Europe and the US.

He also said North Korea may have the ability to strike the US with nuclear missiles “in a handful of months”.

The US intelligence community has said that it believes Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Mr Pompeo, who briefs the president most mornings, dismissed as “drivel” recent claims that US President Donald Trump was not up to the job.

The director’s conference room on the seventh floor of the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, is lined with pictures of former directors and the presidents they served.
“We are going to go out there and do our damnedest to steal secrets on behalf of the American people. And I wanted to get back on our front foot.”

A year into the job, Mr Pompeo says his mission has been to unleash and unburden the CIA.

It is an agency operating in an unpredictable world – one in which intelligence assessments can be the basis not just for military action, but also political controversy.

Even though there has been co-operation in counter-terrorism (the CIA helped stop a plot in St Petersburg last year), Mr Pompeo says he still sees Russia primarily as an adversary, sharing the concerns in many European countries about its subversion. “I haven’t seen a significant decrease in their activity,” he said.

Asked if his concerns extended to the upcoming US mid-term elections in November, he replied: “Of course. I have every expectation that they will continue to try and do that, but I’m confident that America will be able to have a free and fair election [and] that we will push back in a way that is sufficiently robust that the impact they have on our election won’t be great.”

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