US intel chiefs say China prone to press Taiwan and search to undercut US



US Director of Nationwide Intelligence Avril Haines informed Congress Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping is prone to press Taiwan and attempt to undercut US affect within the coming years as he begins a 3rd time period as president.

Whereas Beijing has stepped up its public criticism of the US, Haines informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that the intelligence group assesses that China nonetheless believes it “advantages most by stopping a spiraling of tensions and by preserving stability in its relationship with the USA.”

The US intelligence group believes that Russia “most likely doesn’t need a direct navy battle with US and NATO forces, however there may be potential for that to happen,” in accordance with the unclassified annual threat assessment report of the intelligence group issued on Wednesday that US intelligence leaders testified about.

“Russian leaders up to now have prevented taking actions that might broaden the Ukraine battle past Ukraine’s borders, however the danger for escalation stays vital,” the report says.

Haines mentioned in her testimony that the Ukraine battle has turn into a “grinding attritional warfare wherein neither facet has a definitive navy benefit,” however mentioned that Russian President Vladimir Putin was prone to keep it up, presumably for years.

“We don’t foresee the Russian navy recovering sufficient this yr to make main territorial features, however Putin almost certainly calculates the time works in his favor, and that prolonging the warfare, together with with potential pauses within the combating, could also be his greatest remaining pathway to ultimately securing Russia’s strategic pursuits in Ukraine, even when it takes years,” Haines mentioned.

Haines and the opposite prime intelligence officers – CIA Director William Burns, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Protection Intelligence Company Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier and NSA Director Gen. Paul Nakasone – testified earlier than the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday on the panel’s annual public worldwide threats listening to.

Haines ticked by the worldwide challenges the US faces – from Russia and China to Iran and North Korea – together with dangers associated to cyber and expertise and authoritarian governments.

Haines defined that Russia will seemingly be unable to maintain even its at the moment modest stage of offensive operations in Ukraine with out an extra necessary mobilization and third-party ammunition sources.

“They could totally shift to holding and defending the territories they now occupy,” mentioned Haines

Haines referred to as Putin’s “nuclear saber-rattling” an try to “deter the West from offering further assist to Ukraine.”

“He most likely will nonetheless stay assured that Russia can ultimately militarily defeat Ukraine and desires to stop Western assist from tipping the stability and forcing a battle with NATO,” she mentioned.

Nonetheless, as Russia offers with “intensive harm” from its warfare in Ukraine, Moscow will develop extra depending on its nuclear, cyber and area capabilities, the US intelligence businesses mentioned of their report.

Heavy losses on the battlefield in Ukraine “have degraded Moscow’s ground- and air-based typical capabilities and elevated its reliance on nuclear weapons,” the report added.

“Though its cyber exercise surrounding the warfare fell in need of the tempo and affect we had anticipated, Russia will stay a prime cyber menace because it refines and employs its espionage, affect, and assault capabilities,” the report states.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, the highest Republican on the Senate Intelligence panel, argued that TikTok presents “a considerable nationwide safety menace for the nation of a sort that we didn’t face up to now.”

The Chinese language authorities might use TikTok to regulate information on thousands and thousands of individuals and harness the video app to form public opinion ought to China invade Taiwan, Wray informed the panel Wednesday.

Wray responded affirmatively to questions from Rubio on whether or not TikTok would enable Beijing widespread management over information and a worthwhile affect software within the occasion of warfare within the Taiwan Strait.

“Essentially the most basic piece that cuts throughout each a kind of dangers and threats that you simply talked about that I feel Individuals want to grasp is that one thing that’s very sacred in our nation — the distinction between the non-public sector and public sector — that’s a line that’s nonexistent in the best way that the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] operates,” Wray mentioned.

Rubio and Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, additionally pressed the intelligence leaders on the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic in gentle of a brand new Vitality Division evaluation, made with low confidence, that the pandemic seemingly was the results of a lab leak in Wuhan.

Haines mentioned the intelligence group remains to be in search of to gather further info to find out the origin of the Covid-19 pandemic however reiterated there’s no consensus at this level amongst US intelligence businesses.

“There’s a broad consensus within the intelligence group that the outbreak just isn’t the results of a bioweapon or genetic engineering. What there isn’t a consensus on is whether or not or not it’s a lab leak, primarily as Director Wray indicated, or pure publicity to an contaminated animal,” Haines mentioned.

Collins, a proponent of the lab leak concept, argued that the 2 theories mustn’t carry the identical weight.

“I simply don’t perceive why you proceed to keep up on behalf of the intelligence group that these are two equally believable explanations. They merely are usually not,” Collins mentioned.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, mentioned that the committee nonetheless had “unfinished enterprise” with the investigation into the handling of classified documents, reiterating that the committee nonetheless wanted to see the paperwork taken from the places of work and houses of President Joe Biden, former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.

“I feel I converse for everybody on either side of the aisle on this committee, we nonetheless have unfinished enterprise concerning the labeled paperwork that we have to see to ensure that this intelligence committee to successfully oversee its job on intelligence oversights,” mentioned Warner throughout his opening remarks on the committee’s annual worldwide threats listening to.

Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, requested Haines and Wray why they hadn’t personally checked out all the labeled paperwork that had been discovered. They responded they’d each reviewed some however not all the paperwork.

Wray mentioned that he had gone by a “pretty meticulous itemizing” of all of the paperwork with “detailed details about the contents,” whereas noting the FBI had groups skilled with mishandling of labeled paperwork instances.

Cotton echoed Warner, saying that the committee’s “endurance is beginning to run out” with the intelligence group for not sharing the paperwork or perhaps a characterization with the intelligence panel.

“Not less than a few of us are ready to begin placing our foot down if we don’t have higher solutions and the stonewall doesn’t cease,” Cotton mentioned.

Transnational racially and ethnically motivated extremists, together with neo-Nazis and white supremacists,”stay probably the most deadly menace to US individuals and pursuits,” the intelligence group mentioned in its new report.

The report says this largely “decentralized motion” poses “a major menace to quite a few US allies and companions by assaults and propaganda that espouses violence.”

“These actors more and more search to sow social divisions, assist fascist-style governments, and assault authorities establishments. The transnational and free construction of RMVE organizations challenges native safety providers and creates a resilience towards disruptions,” the report states, referring to racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist groups.

The report additionally raises concern {that a} extended battle in Ukraine might present overseas racially and ethnically motivated extremists “with alternatives to achieve entry to battlefield expertise and weapons.”

“Ukraine featured closely in on-line discussions amongst overseas RMVEs within the quick aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, though the full variety of overseas violent extremists touring to Ukraine has been restricted,” it says.

Racially and ethnically motivated extremists had been equally listed as probably the most deadly menace to US individuals and pursuits within the 2022 model of the intelligence group report.

This story has been up to date with further info Wednesday.


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