Iran and Russia have both obtained American voters’ information and are attempting to influence public opinion ahead of the November 3 election, U.S. national security officials said.
“We have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and, separately, by Russia,” U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a news conference on October 21.
Ratcliffe and FBI Director Chris Wray said that the United States will inflict costs on any foreign countries meddling in the U.S. election. Despite the Iranian and Russian actions, they said Americans can be confident in the U.S. election process.
Ratcliffe said Iran has been sending spoof e-mails designed to intimidate voters, create social unrest, and damage President Donald Trump.
He said Iran was responsible for intimidating e-mails sent to Democratic voters in at least four battleground states, including Florida and Pennsylvania.
The threatening e-mails, falsely purporting to be from the far-right group Proud Boys, warned voters that “we will come after you” if the recipients didn’t vote for Trump, a Republican.
The voter-intimidation operation apparently used e-mail addresses obtained from state voter registration lists, which include party affiliation and home addresses and can include e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
It wasn’t clear if the information was hacked or obtained another way, such as through criminal networks on the dark web. Some voter information is publicly available.
Ratcliffe said that U.S. intelligence has not observed the same action from Russia, but that “we are aware that they have obtained some voter information just as they did in 2016.”
He said Iran is also distributing other online disinformation, including video that suggests individuals could cast fraudulent ballots even from overseas.
“This video and any claims about such allegedly fraudulent ballots are not true,” Ratcliffe said.
U.S. intelligence agencies have previously said that Iran, Russia, and China are seeking to interfere in the 2020 election.
Source » rferl