Intel chiefs warn Congress Russia intent on interfering with 2018 midterms

The agency heads testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Officials tell ABC News that the Russians plan not only to use social media to sow discord through “fake news” but are probing state election systems to see if they can be infiltrated.

"We’ve seen some activity (directed) at state elected officials that were attempts to electronically to search those individuals," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr told ABC News. "So we assume that there’s still the intent and we certainly know there’s the capability."

Intelligence agencies are already seeing hard evidence that the Russians will perhaps act more aggressively than in 2016.

“We're taking a lot of specific efforts to blunt…” responded Wray.

“Directed by the president?” Reed interrupted.

“Not as specifically directed,” said Wray.

None of the other agency heads could say that the president had directed them to counter Russian meddling, and while senators probed for a detailed plan on how to counter Russian active measures, the witnesses made clear that there is no comprehensive plan in place or being developed.

“The president has made very clear we have an obligation from our perspective from the foreign intelligence perspective to do everything we can the make sure there is a deep and thorough understanding of every threat including threats from Russia,” said CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

“Frankly, the United States is under attack,” said Coats, “under attack by entities that are using cyber to penetrate virtually every major action that takes place in the United States. From U.S. businesses, to the federal government, to state and local governments, the United States is threatened by cyber attacks every day.”

“Before the primaries begin we intend to have an overview of our findings that will be public,” Burr said. “It is the committee’s intent to make recommendations that will enhance the likelihood that security processes for our elections will be in place.”