North Korea poses 'existential' threat, US intel chief warns

Asked if he promised to inform the Intelligence Committee of any efforts to interfere in the Federal Bureau of Investigation's probe into the Russian meddling and whether anyone close to Trump colluded in it, McCabe said simply, "I absolutely do".

"We assess that ISIS maintains the capability to direct, enable, assist and inspire transnational attacks", Coats said.

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Thursday that the "most frequent and unpredictable" terrorism threat facing the U.S.is that of homegrown extremists.

"So it's a great threat to our Democratic process".

Russian Federation is a full-scope cyber actor that will remain a major threat to US Government, military, diplomatic, commercial, and critical infrastructure.

He said USA leaders should be as "transparent as possible" on Russian efforts to meddle. He added that ISIS was attempting to connect its global branches outside of Iraq and Syria more closely. "The continuation of the Syrian conflict will worsen already distrous conditions for Syrians and regional states".

Coats' comments are coming in his prepared remarks.

Coats said the situation will deteriorate and the Taliban will make gains, especially in rural areas.

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If left unchecked, Stewart added, the "stalemate" will deteriorate in the Taliban's favor, risking "all the gains" from US -backed efforts there.

Coats said China was also targeting the USA government and American businesses. He recommended that USA forces train with Afghan forces down the chain of command to the corps level, and that the Afghan security forces learn to make better use of intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance (ISR) and air support.

He called North Korea's work on nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles "a very significant, potentially existential threat to the United States".

The U.S. national intelligence director says Iran is working to maintain last year's nuclear agreement.

Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, the Defense Intelligence Agency's director, said North Korea was at the same time developing a nuclear device and processing fissile material, aiming to miniaturize a device for a warhead to mount on such missiles.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo, also testifying, said that China has been exerting pressure on North Korea "in a way that they have not made before" and has significantly cut coal imports from the country.

"We assess that the regime will maintain its momentum on the battlefield provided, as it's likely, that it maintains support from Iran and Russian Federation", he said.

The assessment also concludes that Iran remains the "foremost state sponsor of terrorism".

  • Megan Austin