Trump Targeted by Election Interference from Iran & Russia, Intel Officials Warn
DNI confirms Russian & Iranian running anti-Trump campaigns to sway U.S. voters
Iran and Russia are running campaigns to interfere in the coming U.S. presidential election by trying to sway voters away from President Donald Trump, senior intelligence officials have revealed.
During a surprise press conference on Wednesday, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe stated that Iranian and Russian agents have obtained American voter registration information.
He said the info can be used “to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy.”
DNI Ratcliffe also revealed that Iran has sent “spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump.”
Iran's anti-Trump campaign also involves pushing false content online that makes untrue claims about people casting fraudulent ballots.
Ratcliffe said that Russia has also obtained the same voter information but it's not yet clear how either nation managed to get their hands on the sensitive data.
Ratcliffe noted that both nations had taken specific actions to influence voters' opinions.
He noted that the registration information they obtained is being used to attack President Trump and confuse voters through false communication.
The Iranian interference that's been discovered, Ratcliffe said, has been designed to incite social unrest and damage the president.
"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."
He added that Iran was distributing a video with false information about fraudulent ballots.
"Iran is distributing other content to include a video that implies that individuals could cast fraudulent ballots, even from overseas," he said.
"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.
"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.
"We are not going to let our guard down," he added.
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.
The emails 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 Nov. 3 election, for which early voting is ongoing.