Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced late Wednesday night that Iran and Russia have obtained U.S. voter registration information in an attempt to interfere in the presidential election.
“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.
Ratcliffe announced Iran was behind emails threatening Florida Democrat voters to vote for President Trump or risk being harmed as well as spreading disinformation about voter fraud through a video linked in some of the emails.
Florida law enforcement along with the FBI had said they were investigating the threatening emails, which were claimed to be sent by a member of the Proud Boys. The group has denied ever sending any emails.
“We have already seen Iran sending spoof emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump,” Ratcliffe added. “You may have seen some reporting on this in the last 24 hours, or you may have even been one of the recipients of those emails.”
Ratcliffe confirmed while Russia has not taken the same actions, they have obtained voter information, just as they did four years ago.
FBI Director Christopher Wray assured Americans that the bureau will not tolerate attempts at foreign interference in the U.S. election.
“When we see indications of foreign interference or federal election crimes, we are going to aggressively investigate and work with our partners to take appropriate action,” Wray said. “You should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.”
Back in August, Russia, Iran, and China were named as the three countries working to interfere in the presidential election.
“We assess that Iran seeks to undermine US democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections. Iran’s efforts along these lines probably will focus on on-line influence, such as spreading disinformation on social media and recirculating anti-U.S. content,” the statement said.
“Russia is using a range of measures to primarily denigrate former Vice President Biden and what it sees as an anti-Russia ‘establishment.”