Federal officials just confirmed that Russia, and more actively, Iran, have been caught attempting destroy President Trump’s chances of winning reelection.
Speaking during an FBI press conference on Wednesday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that both Russia and Iran are attempting to influence the results of the 2020 election, and have obtained some voter registration information.
Iran’s involvement has reportedly been with the intent to incite social unrest in the country and damage President Trump.
“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,” he said.
“To that end, we 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 those emails.”
Ratcliffe here, is alluding to a story by the Washington Post that says that Iran was posing as the Proud Boys, threatening Democratic voters via email in order to make President Trump look bad.
“The U.S. government has concluded that Iran was behind a series of threatening emails arriving this week in the inboxes of Democratic voters,” The Washington Post reported. “The emails claimed to be from the Proud Boys … but appeared instead to be a deceptive campaign making use of a vulnerability in the organization’s online network.”
Ratcliffe continued, saying, “Although we have not seen the same actions from Russia, we are aware that they have obtained some voter information just as they did in 2016. Rest assured that we are prepared for the possibility of actions by those hostile to democracy.”
Noting that his agency was responsible for investigating election crimes, FBI Director Christopher Wray vowed to take action in order to ensure the integrity of U.S. elections. He said that Americans should be “confident” that their votes count.
“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 said.
“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’re gonna aggressively investigate and work with our partners to quickly take appropriate action. We’re also coordinating with the private sector, both technology and social media companies, to make sure that their platforms aren’t used by foreign adversaries to spread disinformation and propaganda.”
“We are not going to let our guard down,” he added
This is not the first time we’ve been warned about Iran’s attempt to influence the election. Back in August, National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NSCS) Director William Evanina highlighted the threat posed to U.S. elections by Iran, noting that Iran wanted to “undermine” Trump’s re-election efforts.
“We assess that Iran seeks to undermine U.S. democratic institutions, President Trump, and to divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections,” Evanina said in a statement.
“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. Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is, in part, driven by a perception that President Trump’s reelection would result in a continuation of U.S. pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change.”