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Dan Coats Says "America Is Under Attack" From Russian Cyber Threats

Coats, a former Indiana Senator, now serves as National Intelligence Director. He testified at a Senate hearing on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON, D.C. --  Cyber attacks against the U.S. are happening every day, says National Intelligence Director Dan Coats.

Coats was one of several national security leaders at Tuesday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on global security threats.

"We expect Russia to continue using propaganda, social media, false-flag personas, sympathetic spokesmen and other means to [exercise] influence, try to build on its wide range of operations, and exacerbate social and political fissures in the United States."

He warned that Russia will ramp-up cyberattacks on the U.S. in an effort to degrade America's democratic values and weaken U.S. alliances.

"There should be no doubt that Russia perceives its past efforts as successful and views the 2018 US midterm elections as a potential target for Russian influence operations," Coats said.

Coats added that Americans need to be vocal about resisting Russian operations to influence American politics and the social fabric of the country.

"We need to inform the American public that this is real... We are not going to allow some Russian to tell us how to vote, how we ought to run our country. I think there needs to be a national cry for that."

Coats also touched on other national security concerns, including border security, which he says is "in need of drastic improvement" with drugs and gang members flowing into the U.S. on a daily basis. 

Other topics of discussion at Tuesday's hearing included North Korea, China, and weapons of mass destruction. 

(PHOTO: Chip Somadevilla/Getty Images)

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