Iran and Russia had obtained some Americans’ voter registration information, said John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence.
Iranian intelligence was responsible for a recent campaign of emails sent to intimidate Florida voters, the FBI announced Wednesday night, adding that Russia was also working to influence the election.
Iranian and Russian officials denied the charges.
The emails, which ominously instructed Democratic voters in Florida to switch to the Republican Party, purported to come from the “Proud Boys”, a right-wing group of Trump supporters that became a flashpoint during the first presidential debate.
But the emails were actually “spoofed” and had been designed “to incite social unrest and damage President Trump,” said John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence. Ratcliffe did not explain how the emails were damaging to Trump, because they were urging Democrats to switch to the Republican Party.
This is assuming that Iran’s ultimate objective is to promote a candidate or a party. That’s not the case. Iran’s goal (much like Russia and China) is to sow chaos and undermine trust in democratic institutions and in our elections.
— Ariane Tabatabai (@ArianeTabatabai) October 22, 2020
Ratcliffe didn’t provide any evidence for the attribution.
Many states, including Florida, make voters’ information, including their names and party affiliations, easily accessible to members of the public who request it.
Both Iran and Russia had obtained some Americans’ voter registration information, Ratcliffe said.
In the same news conference, FBI Director Christopher Wray said there was still no way for Iranian or Russian intelligence to change Americans’ votes.
“You should be confident that your vote counts,” Wray said.