John Ratcliffe, the Director of National Intelligence, revealed in an abruptly scheduled press conference that both Russia and Iran interfered in the upcoming presidential election. Ratcliffe explained that the two countries took “specific actions to influence public opinion” regarding the Nov. 3 election.
Continuing, Ratcliffe shared that the countries were able to obtain voter registration information, as well. This information includes party affiliation, home addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. In obtaining these details, Ratcliffe said that Iran, specifically, had begun to send out fake emails as a form of intimidating voters. "We are not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections," Ratcliffe went on to say. This type of interference, Ratcliffe noted, serves to undermine the public's confidence in a fair election. This has become a sticking point for President Donald Trump as some suggest he may not accept defeat, instead calling the election rigged or hampered.
US Director of National Intel Ratcliffe: Iran and Russia have taken specific actions to influence public opinion in our elections, including acquiring some voter registration info; warns American voters to be vigilant: "This is not a partisan issue." https://t.co/80vbjQAyUe— Breaking News (@BreakingNews) October 21, 2020
The emails in question were reported to be addressed from The Proud Boys, a far-right group whose support of Trump was brought to light during the first debate between Trump and Joe Biden. These emails were seen in multiple states, including Florida and Alaska. Claiming to be from the organization, the messages were threatening to Democrat voters, insisting that those who received the emails change their party affiliation and instead vote for Trump. The attack claimed to have had the individual's information. Ratcliffe explained that the attacks they have seen, specifically the aforementioned one, comes from Iran. Russia, though, was not involved with the fake emails but did obtain voter information.
Before closing out the press conference, Ratcliffe attempted to salvage the situation by urging to remain confident when casting their ballots. "The last line of defense in election security is you, the American voter," he stated. This latest development comes on the two-week mark leading into the Nov. 3 election. It also made headlines on the night before the final presidential debate, which certainly could be brought up at some point during the evening. The debate will also have some significance for being the first one ever to allow the moderator the ability to mute each candidate.