Russia, Iran and China have obtained voter registration information about Americans and are using this data to spread online chaos and misinformation to disrupt the Nov. 3 polls, according to U.S. law enforcement offices.
Both the Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and Federal Bureau of Investigation director Christopher Wray said Wednesday these three countries had stepped up efforts to mess with the election only 12 days away. They took no questions after their presentations.
Ratcliffe said both Russia and Iran were actively attempting to sway U.S. public opinion related to the 2020 presidential election. He made little mention of Russian interference on behalf of Trump but focused his expose on Iranian meddling he asserts is meant to harm president Donald Trump.
Ratcliffe said Iran is behind a series of threatening emails sent this week to Democratic voters. He said the emails sent in the name of the conservative domestic terrorist group, the Proud Boys, were "designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump."
"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," said Ratcliffe.
As for Russian interference, Ratcliffe said although the U.S. Intelligence Community hasn't seen the same actions from Russia, "we are aware that they have obtained some voter information, just as they did in 2016. Rest assured that we are prepared for the possibility of actions by those hostile to democracy."
Wray assured Americans that the bureau won't tolerate attempts at foreign interference in the November election, and will alert the American people when it discovers this 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," noted Wray. "You should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism."
A political appointee, Ratcliffe is seen by Democrats and his critics as a reliable Trump sycophant. Some left-wing pundits contend Ratcliffe made this announcement singling out Iran, and not Russia, this close to the election to politically harm Joe Biden by linking him to Hillary Clinton.
Ratcliffe was assailed late last month for presenting to the Senate unverified "rumint," or rumor intelligence, alleging Hillary Clinton personally approved an effort "to stir up a scandal against U.S. Presidential candidate Donald Trump by tying him to Putin and the Russians' hacking of the Democratic National Committee."
Ratcliffe's assessment was rejected by Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee as having no factual basis.
"It's very disturbing to me that 35 days before an election, the director of national intelligence would release unverified Russian (dubious rumor)," said Senate intelligence committee vice chairperson Mark Warner (D-Va.) at the time.