The Central Intelligence Agency’s sources in Russia have gone silent, leaving the agency in the dark about the Kremlin’s plans for the US midterm elections, The New York Timesreports.
The key Kremlin informants who revealed the extent of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election have “largely gone quiet, leaving the C.I.A. and other spy agencies in the dark about precisely what Mr. Putin’s intentions are for November’s midterm elections,” The Times reported.
Intelligence officials don’t believe the sources were killed or compromised, according to the report. “Instead, they have concluded they have gone to ground amid more aggressive counterintelligence by Moscow,” the report said.
The news comes after Trump encouraged outing an FBI informant.
Current and former officials also said the expulsion of American intelligence officers from Moscow has hurt collection efforts. And officials also raised the possibility that the outing of an F.B.I. informant under scrutiny by the House intelligence committee — an examination encouraged by President Trump — has had a chilling effect on intelligence collection.
Technology companies and political campaigns in recent weeks have detected a plethora of political interference efforts originating overseas, including hacks of Republican think tanks and fake liberal grass-roots organizations created on Facebook. Senior intelligence officials, including Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have warned that Russians are intent on subverting American democratic institutions.
But American intelligence agencies have not been able to say precisely what are Mr. Putin’s intentions: He could be trying to tilt the midterm elections, simply sow chaos or generally undermine trust in the democratic process.
The news comes after Yahoo News reportedthat the Trump White House intervened to force Senate Republicans to block their own bill intended to protect US elections from Russian attacks.