FBI says Iran and Russia trying to undermine US election security


James Martin/CNET

The FBI said late Wednesday that Russia and Iran have taken action to undermine US confidence in the upcoming elections.

The director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said both countries have obtained some voter registration data and that Iran has sent spoof emails designed to intimidate voters.

“This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, so chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy,” Ratcliffe said in a hastily called news conference Wednesday evening.

Ratcliffe said Iran’s spoof emails were “designed to intimidate voters, incite unrest and damage President” Donald Trump. Iran has also been linked to a video that suggests individuals can cast fraudulent ballots overseas, he said.

“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,” Ratcliffe said.

“As we enter the last weeks before the election, we urge every American — including members of the media – to be cautious about believing or spreading unverified, sensational claims related to votes and voting,” he said.

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