Feds investigating voter threats, attempts by Iran, Russia, to interfere in 2020 elections
Iran and Russia have both obtained voter data in their efforts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed that news tidbit last night.
“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 at a hastily arranged Wednesday night news conference.
Iran, specifically, is behind a series of threatening emails that were found to be sent this week to Democratic voters, which Ratcliffe said was “designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”
An ongoing investigation in Florida found emails sent to registered Democrats purportedly linked to the extremist group The Proud Boys that ended with the threat: “You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you.”
The Proud Boys group has denied being behind those emails, most of which had gotten caught in spam filters, according to Google, which estimates that its automated spam filters had winnowed out 90 percent of the threatening emails that had been sent out.
Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio addressed the threats in a joint statement on behalf of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which they lead.
“Yesterday, DNI Ratcliffe and FBI Director Wray took an extraordinary step to ensure Americans have clear insight into the efforts of our adversaries to undermine our democratic institutions, including U.S. election systems and infrastructure. It is clear that Iran is now actively seeking to sow dissent and divide us, much like Russia did in 2016 and continues to do today.
“To the American people and the media, we reiterate the need to be skeptical of sensationalist, last-minute claims about election infrastructure. State, local, and federal officials, and partners in social media and tech, should be proud of joint efforts to shut down Iranian and Russian efforts.
“To our adversaries, we reiterate DNI Ratcliffe’s warning against interfering in America’s electoral process. Republicans and Democrats are united when we say that continued attempts to sow dissent, cast doubt on election results, or disrupt our election systems and infrastructure will necessitate a severe response.”