Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe confirmed on Wednesday evening that the Islamic Republican of Iran—the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism—interfered in the U.S. election to damage President Donald Trump by sending threatening emails to Democrat voters while posing as a right-wing group.
“Ratcliffe said Wednesday both Iran and Russia have obtained US voter registration information in an effort to interfere in the election, including Iran posing as the far-right group Proud Boys to send intimidating emails to voters,” CNN reported. “Iranians are responsible for a voter intimidation email campaign that was made to look like it came from the Proud Boys and was also spreading disinformation about voter fraud through a video linked in some of the emails.”
At a press conference, Ratcliffe said that intelligence officials have discovered that Iran and Russia have obtained some voter registration information and that officials have “already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump.”
“You may have seen some reporting on this in the last 24 hours or you may have even been one of the recipients of one of those emails,” Ratcliffe said. “Additionally, Iran is distributing other content to include a video that implies that individuals could cast fraudulent ballots, even from overseas. This video and any claims about such allegedly fraudulent ballots are not true. These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries. Even if the adversaries pursue further attempts to intimidate or attempt to undermine voter confidence, know that our election systems are resilient and you can be confident your votes are secure.”
Ratcliffe said intelligence officials have “not seen the same actions from Russia” but noted that they are prepared to take action if Russia takes malacious action.
FBI Director Chris Wray spoke after Ratcliffe, saying that the FBI is “the primary agency responsible for investigating malicious cyber activity against election infrastructure, malign foreign influence operations, and election related crimes like voter fraud and voter suppression or intimidation, and that’s exactly what we’ve been doing.”
“At the FBI we’ve been working closely with our intelligence community partners as well as our other federal, state, and local partners to share information, bolster security, and identify and disrupt any threats,” Wray continued. “We are not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections or any criminal activity that threatens the sanctity of your vote or undermines public confidence in the outcome of the election. When we see indications of foreign interference or federal election crimes, we are going to aggressively investigate and work with our partners to quickly take appropriate action. We are also coordinating with the private sector, both technology and social media companies, to make sure that their platforms aren’t used spread disinformation and propaganda.”
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