- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 26, 2019

Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, said Thursday that the most significant threats to the United States are occurring in the “cyber realm.”

Mr. Maguire made the remark while testifying on Capitol Hill for the first time since being appointed by President Trump last month to helm the U.S. intelligence community.

“First and foremost, I think that protecting the sanctity of our elections within the United States, whether it be national, city state or local, is perhaps the most important job that we have with the intelligence community,” Mr. Maguire told Rep. Will Hurd, Texas Republican, while appearing before members of the House Intelligence Committee.

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“Outside of that, we do face significant threats. I’d say number one is not necessarily kinetic, but cyber. This is a cyber war,” Mr. Maguire continued. “We talk about whether or not the great competition is taking place with Russia and China, and we are building ships and weapons to do that, but in my estimation the great competition with these countries is taking place right now and is doing that in the cyber realm.”

Mr. Maguire, a retired Navy rear admiral, was named acting director of national intelligence by Mr. Trump on August 15. An intelligence community whistleblower had filed a formal complaint alleging wrongdoing on the president’s part days earlier, the likes of which was the main topic of discussion during Thursday’s previously scheduled committee hearing.

Daniel R. Coats, Mr. Trump’s last Senate-confirmed director of national security, similarly said last year that “the digital infrastructure that serves this country is literally under attack.”

“The warning signs are there. The system is blinking, and it is why I believe we’re at a critical point,” Mr. Coats warned at the time.

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