The FBI has dropped an election bombshell as they revealed Iran and Russia have been attempting to interfere in the 2020 US election.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe told reporters on Tuesday night (local time) the two nations had taken specific actions to influence public opinion regarding the elections.
“We have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and separately Russia,” he said.
“This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy.
“To that end, we have already seen Iran sending spoof emails, designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”
Mr Ratcliffe added Iran had also been distributing content including a video that implied people could cast fraudulent ballots from overseas.
“These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries. Even if the adversaries pursue further attempts to intimate or attempt to undermine voter confidence, know that our election systems are resilient and you can be confident your votes are secure,” he said.
The major development comes just two weeks before the election.
Democratic voters receive threatening emails
The news conference was held as Democratic voters in at least four battleground states, including Florida and Pennsylvania, have received threatening emails, falsely purporting to be from the far-right group Proud Boys, that warned “we will come after you” if the recipients didn’t vote for President Trump.
The voter-intimidation operation apparently used email addresses obtained from state voter registration lists, which include party affiliation and home addresses and can include email addresses and phone numbers.
Those addresses were then used in an apparently widespread targeted spamming operation.
The senders claimed they would know which candidate the recipient was voting for in the November 3 election, for which early voting is ongoing.
Federal officials have long warned about the possibility of this type of operation, as such registration lists are not difficult to obtain.
“These emails are meant to intimidate and undermine American voters’ confidence in our elections,” Christopher Krebs, the top election security official at the Department of Homeland Security, tweeted Tuesday night after reports of the emails first surfaced.
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.