Ratcliffe said, “This data can be used by foreign actors to try to give false information to registered voters, which they hope will create confusion, create chaos and lower your confidence.”
“We have already seen Iran sending spoof emails designed to intimidate voters, instigate social unrest and harm the president (Donald Trump),” Ratcliffe said. “You may have seen some reporting on this in the last 24 hours, or you may have been one of the recipients of those emails.”
Ratcliffe did not clarify what his statement meant that the emails – which were sent from “[email protected]” to registered voters and “vote for Trump otherwise!” – was intended to harm the President.
A source at the Florida Election Office told CNN that during an FBI briefing on Wednesday, agents told him that the Proud Boy email threat about voting for Trude had come from a nation state – and they were watching him nationwide Huh. The source said agents told him that the email was “not the work of a Florida man in his basement.”
Ratcliffe said Russia has not taken action, but has received some voter information, as Moscow did in 2016.
Ratcliffe spoke with FBI Director Chris Ray at a hastily-held news conference on Wednesday evening to announce foreign electoral intervention.
“We are prepared for the possibility of action by those hostile actions for democracy,” Ratcliffe said.
Just before the news conference began, the top two members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – Censor Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, and Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat – issued a joint statement warning about foreign interference in the election.
The statement said, “In the final weeks before the election, we urge every American – including members of the media, to believe or be wary of spreading unbelievable, sensational claims associated with voting and voting.” . ” “State and local election officials are in regular contact with federal law enforcement and cybersecurity professionals, and they are all working around the clock to ensure that Election 2020 is safe, secure and free from outside interference.”
Along with Russia and China, Iran was named as one of three foreign advisors seeking to intervene in the 2020 race in an unprecedented statement from top intelligence security official Bill Ivina of the intelligence community on August 7 Were.
“We assess that Iran attempts to divide American democratic institutions, President Trump and the country before the 2020 elections. Iran’s efforts along these lines will likely focus on on-line influence, such as on social media Spreading disinformation and reiterating. Anti-American content, “the statement issued by the entire intelligence community stated.
Tehran’s motivation to conduct such activities is driven by the belief that President Trump’s reelection will result in an effort to change the regime to continue the US pressure on Iran.
The same statement said that the US intelligence community is assessing “Russia is using a number of measures to mainly discredit former Vice President Biden and see it as an anti-Russia establishment.”
“This is consistent with public criticism of Moscow when he was the Vice President for his role in the Obama administration’s policies in Ukraine and in support of the anti-Putin opposition inside Russia … Some Kremlin-related actors also sought to promote the president Are doing. Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television, “it added.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
CNN’s Jeff Zealny, Donnie O’Sullivan and Evan Perez contributed to this report.