Iran and Russia have obtained U.S. voter registration information with the intent to interfere with the November election and Iran has sent spoofed emails to voters this week designed to intimidate them, the director of National Intelligence, John Ratcliffe, said Wednesday.
Iran is responsible for the threatening emails sent Tuesday to registered Democrats in four states that used an email address that made it appear as if they were sent by the far-right extremist group Proud Boys, two unnamed U.S. officials told the Washington Post.
Ratcliffe said Iran sent the spoof emails to drive social unrest and damage President Trump, and has also distributed a video spreading misinformation about voter fraud.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said the intelligence community will not tolerate foreign election interference or any criminal activity that threatens confidence in the election outcome.
The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are working closely with state and local election officials to identify and disrupt threats and are working with technology and social media companies to ensure their platforms are not used to spread disinformation, Ratcliffe said.
Ratcliffe noted this is not a partisan issue and there is “complete unanimity” in the “resolve to combat enemies.”
“This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy,” Ratcliffe said.
The emails, which reached voters in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Florida and Alaska, ordered people to vote for Trump or “we will come after you.” A DHS official told state and local election administrators on a call Wednesday that they should patch their election websites, which authorities had detected vulnerabilities in.
The top two members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), released a joint statement shortly before the intelligence announcement urging journalists and all Americans to be cautious about believing or spreading unverified claims regarding voting. The senators said state and local election officials are in contact with federal law enforcement and cyber security professionals who are working to make sure the election is “safe, secure, and free from outside interference.”
Source: Forbes – Business