Intelligence chief sees 'permissive environment' for cyberattacks against US interests

WASHINGTON – The director of national intelligence says cyberattacks against American interests are likely to continue, in part because hackers face a low risk of consequences.

James Clapper, the nation’s top intelligence official, says in prepared congressional testimony that a muted response to most cyberattacks has created a permissive environment in which hacking can be used as a tool short of war to benefit adversaries and inflict damage on the United States.

Clapper was slated to discuss cyber threats before the House intelligence committee Thursday along with the CIA director and the National Security Agency chief.

Clapper says foreign intelligence services are increasingly gaining access to critical US infrastructure that would allow them to inflict damage.

The intelligence chief says Russia, China, Iran and North Korea pose the top cyber threats.