The U.S. intelligence community says Iran and Russia have sent fake emails using stolen voter registration data to provoke unrest and undermine the integrity of the 2020 election campaign.
At a late press conference, Donald Trump’s Director of National Intelligence John Radcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Ware said both countries had taken specific measures to influence public opinion in the election.
“They believe it will cause chaos, sow confusion, and undermine your confidence in American democracy,” Mr Radcliffe said.
He said he would send stolen data fraud emails in an attempt to damage Mr Trump and send videos that could have rigged fraudulent votes from abroad. Neither Mr. Radcliffe nor Mr. Vere took any questions.
Shortly before the announcement, Washington Post This week, Iran said it was behind threats to emails from Democratic voters claiming it came from “proud boys” and that the group “had all your information.”
“Will you vote for Trump on election day or we will come after you?” Emails were said. “Change your party affiliation with the Republican Party to let us know that you have received our message and will abide by it. We know which candidate you voted for. I will take this seriously if you will.”
Mr Radcliffe described the move as “a desperate attempt by distrustful opponents”, while Mr Vare said it was part of a concerted effort to undermine confidence in the election and convince Americans not to count their votes.
“Rather untested claims should be viewed with a healthy level of suspicion,” Mr Vare said.
The announcement of the FBI’s election intervention late in the 2020 election campaign is reminiscent of a letter the agency wrote to Congress on October 28, 2016, announcing that it had reopened an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Shortly before the press conference on Wednesday, intelligence chief Marco Rubio and vice president Mark Warner urged Americans not to fall into the traps set by the United States’ enemies and to look with suspicion at sensational claims about the voting system.
“Our adversaries abroad are trying to sow confusion and undermine the confidence of the electorate in our democratic institutions, including the electoral systems and infrastructure on which we rely to properly record and express the will of the electorate. In order to undermine our confidence, ”they said in a joint statement.
“As we enter the weeks leading up to the election, we urge every American – including members of the media – to be wary of believing or spreading untested, provocative claims about votes and voting.
“State and local election officials are in regular contact with federal law enforcement and cyber security experts, and they are all around the clock to ensure that Election 2020 is safe, secure, and free from outside interference.”