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Politics DNI: Russia, Iran have obtained voter data in election interference campaign

03:45  22 october  2020
03:45  22 october  2020 Source:   abcnews.go.com

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DNI Ratcliffe during the special press briefing said the two US rivals have "taken specific actions to influence public opinion" regarding the election “We have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran , and separately by Russia ,” Director of National Intelligence

U.S. officials warned that Iran and Russia are attempting to interfere with the presidential “We have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran , and separately by Russia ,” Director of “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to convey misinformation.”

Senior national security officials alerted the American public Wednesday that Iran and Russia have both obtained voter data in their efforts to interfere in the 2020 U.S. election.

a person standing in front of a laptop: Voters fill out their ballots as they vote at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center polling station, Oct. 21, 2020, in Miami. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images Voters fill out their ballots as they vote at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center polling station, Oct. 21, 2020, in Miami.

"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," Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in a surprise news conference Wednesday evening.

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US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe has refuted claims that alleged emails detailing Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine and China when his father was VP are part of a Russian election interference effort.

Russia , China, Iran and some other foreign countries have "ongoing campaigns " to influence U.S. elections ahead of the November midterms that are causing concern within the national intelligence communities. On Friday, less than three weeks away from the November 6 elections , the Office of

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Ratcliffe also announced that Iran was separately behind a series of threatening emails that were found to be sent this week to Democratic voters, which he said was "designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump."

a person sitting in front of a laptop: Voters fill out their ballots as they vote at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center polling station, Oct. 21, 2020, in Miami. © Joe Raedle/Getty Images Voters fill out their ballots as they vote at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center polling station, Oct. 21, 2020, in Miami.

Florida law enforcement and the FBI previously had said they were investigating the threatening emails allegedly sent from outside the United States to registered Democrats. The emails claimed to be from by a member of the Proud Boys, according to authorities, something the group denies.

Five takeaways on Iran, Russia election interference

  Five takeaways on Iran, Russia election interference News that Iran and Russia accessed voter registration data has dropped like a lightning bolt into an already heated campaign battle with less than two weeks before Election Day. © Getty Images Five takeaways on Iran, Russia election interference The announcement from administration officials that the countries had accessed voter registration data and were believed to be behind threatening emails sent to U.S. voters sparked immediate concerns and questions. Here are five takeaways.Iran should not be underestimatedIran has long been considered one of the key nation-state threats on cyber matters to the U.S.

China, Russia and Iran are among countries seeking to influence the US presidential election this year, a top US intelligence chief has warned. He has suggested that the vote be delayed to prevent "the most inaccurate and fraudulent election in history", prompting a backlash even among members

Russia has consistently denied interfering in foreign elections . On Iran , it said an Iranian group known as Phosphorus had unsuccessfully sought to access accounts of White House officials and Mr Trump's campaign staff between May and June of this year.

MORE: Florida sheriffs, FBI investigating emails threatening voters

According to sheriffs' offices in both Brevard County and Alachua County, the sender claimed to belong to the "alt-right" group and said they were in possession of a voter's personal information.

The Brevard County Sheriff's Office said the email addressed the voter by name, then stated: "We are in possession of all your information. You are currently registered as a Democrat and we know this because we have gained access into the entire voting infrastructure. You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you."

Ratcliffe additionally accused Iran of distributing content including a video implying individuals "could cast fraudulent ballots, even from overseas."

"This video and any claims about such allegedly fraudulent ballots are not true," Ratcliffe said. "These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries. Even if the adversaries pursue further attempts to intimidate or attempt to undermine border confidence, know that our election systems are resilient and you can be confident your votes are secure."

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US President Donald Trump has been long accused by Democrats - who were stunned by his unexpected victory in the 2016 presidential election - of "colluding" with the Russian government. No direct evidence has been found to back the allegations.

A report published last week by the National Counterintelligence and Security Center highlighted the very real potential for foreign interference in the 2020 election . The report suggests that Russia plans to assist President Trump again while nations like China and Iran may back Biden.

MORE: FBI director: 'Russia attempted to interfere in the last election'

FBI Director Christopher Wray separately appeared at the news conference to assure Americans that the bureau will not tolerate attempts at foreign interference in the U.S. election, and would alert the American people when appropriate when it discovers such activity.

"When we see indications of foreign interference or federal election crimes, we are going to aggressively investigate and work with our partners to take appropriate action," Wray said. "You should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism."

a close up of a clock: The seal of the F.B.I. hangs in the Flag Room at the bureau's headquarters on March 9, 2007, in Washington, D.C. © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images FILE The seal of the F.B.I. hangs in the Flag Room at the bureau's headquarters on March 9, 2007, in Washington, D.C.

The announcement followed a joint statement by the Senate Intelligence Committee chairs Marco Rubio and ranking member Mark Warner concerning election security.

"Our adversaries abroad seek to sow chaos and undermine voters' belief in our democratic institutions, including the election systems and infrastructure that we rely on to record and properly report expressions of the voters' will," the statement said. "They may seek to target those systems, or simply leave the impression that they have altered or manipulated those systems, in order to undermine their credibility and our confidence in them."

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Former top Department of Homeland Security official and ABC News contributor John Cohen said the announcement shows "we are not doing enough to protect our election process."

"Tonight we have learned that foreign entities were able to access voter registration information and send intimidating emails to American voters that were intended to influence how they vote," Cohen said. "The president needs to take this threat seriously, stop spreading Russian disinformation and he needs to tell his allies on Capitol Hill to stop chasing conspiracy theories and instead start focusing on protecting America from foreign attacks."

Survey: Nearly 2 out of 3 voters will cast their ballots early in-person or by mail, not on Election Day .
The survey showed a significant partisan divide, too. Those supporting Biden are more likely to say they plan to vote by mail than those who support Trump.When combining those who are voting by mail (42%) and those who voting early in-person (26%), nearly 2 in 3 voters will be casting their ballot ahead of Election Day, according to a survey from the Democracy Fund + UCLA Nationscape Project.

usr: 1
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