16:51 GMT +316 February 2019
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    L-R) NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo arrive to testify before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 11, 2017

    Russia is Not the Only Country Interested in Influencing US Elections - Coats

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    US Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats stated on Thursday that US President Donald Trump had designated any disruptive foreign influence on the US elections as a top priority for the country's security services.

    According to Coats, the US national security services continue to be concerned about the country's election security, noting that security agencies are holding weekly meetings regarding the issue.

    As the security chief underlined, US security was "in the crosshairs."

    The national security chief named Russia among the states that, according to him, are trying to undermine the upcoming US midterm election.

    "We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States," Coats said at a White House briefing with other intelligence agency leaders. "We will continue to monitor and warn of any such efforts."

    The top security official noted that Russia's alleged attempting efforts to influence the 2018 midterm elections coming up in November are not as robust as those seen during the 2016 election.

    "We know that through decades Russia has tried to use its propaganda and methods to try to sow discord in America," Coats told reporters. "However, they stepped up their game big time in 2016. We have not seen that kind of robust effort from them so far."

    Coats said Russia was looking for every opportunity to influence the 2018 vote regardless of political party.

    He went on to say that Moscow, however, was not the only power that allegedly tries to influence the vote.

    "We are aware that Russia is not the only country that has an interest in trying to influence our domestic political environment. We know there are others who have the capability and may be considering influence activities," Coats told reporters.

    READ MORE: US Senators Introduce Sanctions Bill, Targeting Russia's Sovereign Debt, Energy

    On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it found and removed 32 pages and accounts linked to ongoing attempts to influence US political discourse ahead of the midterms. The social media giant said the probe was ongoing and they do not yet know who is responsible.

    After the 2016 US presidential election, Washington has been trying to find traces of what they claimed was Russian influence on the vote. Two US bodies: the US Congress and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigated these accusations. Up to the present moment, no substantial proof has been presented to substantiate these claims.

    READ MORE: Trump Says Didn't Know About 2016 Meeting With Russians in Trump Tower

    Moscow, in its turn, has repeatedly refuted such accusations, with Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov calling all such claims groundless.

    alleged Russian meddling, election, Daniel Coats, United States, Russia