Russia and Iran have obtained some US voter registration data and are attempting to influence Presidential election, Trump official warns
The US Government’s director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe has warned that Russia and Iran have obtained US voter registration information.
And he said those countries are using this data in an effort to interfere in the US Presidential election election on 3 November. He said for example that Iran used an email campaign in which it posed as the far-right group Proud Boys to send intimidating emails to voters.
Ratcliffe made the comments when he appeared alongside FBI Director Chris Wray at a hastily arranged news conference Wednesday evening.
The FBI director limited himself to talking about safeguarding election security, and stressed the bureau was monitoring “malign foreign influence operations, and election-related crimes, like voter fraud and voter suppression or intimidation.”
Wray stressed that US voters should be confident that security is being upheld and their vote counts.
But the director of national intelligence John Ratcliffe, an official in the Trump administration, went one step further and directly named both Russia and Iran as having obtained US voter data.
“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,” Ratcliffe was quoted by CNN as saying.
“We have already seen Iran sending spoof emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President (Donald) Trump,” Ratcliffe added. “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.”
According to CNN, Ratcliffe did not explain what he meant by his statement that the emails – which were sent to registered voters from “email@example.com” and warned recipients to “Vote for Trump or else!” – were intended to damage the President.
And CNN reported that democrats and a group of former intelligence officials accused Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman, of selectively declassifying intelligence in the run-up to the election to help Trump’s campaign.
Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee also reportedly criticised him after the news conference.
“These election interference operations are clearly not meant to harm President Trump. Americans should listen to FBI Director Wray and CISA Director Krebs,” they tweeted. “Ratcliffe has TOO OFTEN politicised the Intelligence Community to carry water for the President.”
Russia in particular has been accused of hacking and influencing the 2016 US Presidential election.