Watch CBS News

Top Intelligence Officials Announce Iran & Russia Are Weaponizing Voter Info

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In a push to build confidence in our election process, federal officials held an unusual news conference Wednesday night.

"The 2020 elections are the safest and most secure in our nation's history," Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said.

The reassurance comes after Ratcliffe confirms foreign influence.

"Iran and Russia have taken specific actions to influence public opinion relating to our elections," he said.

The feds believe the two countries are weaponizing voter information. They also said Iran has already sent emails meant to intimidate voters.

"They hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy," Ratcliffe said.

Democratic voters in four states, including Florida, have received threatening email messages. They claimed to be from the Proud Boys and warned people they'll go after them, if they don't vote for President Trump. A group member denied any involvement to CBS 4 News.

"Whoever did this should serve a long time in prison," Enrique Tario said.

Uniformed Miami Officer Disciplined For Wearing Pro-Trump Mask At Voting Site
Biden Campaign: 'We Will Not Stand For Any Behavior That Could Intimidate Voters'
FBI: Miami Attorney Accused Of Being Serial Bank Robber

Ratcliffe didn't specifically refer to those emails.

"We have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump," he said.

Ratcliffe also didn't say how the emails were meant to damage the president.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said he's working with social media companies to also make sure they're not duped.

"We're also coordinating with the private sector, both technology and social media companies to make sure that their platforms aren't used by foreign adversaries to spread disinformation and propaganda," Wray said.

Even though voter information is public, it's still unclear how the two countries accessed it in order to contact those voters.

Ratcliffe added that Iran sent out video claiming people could cast fraudulent ballots, even from overseas. He said that video is not true.

To be clear, there's no evidence votes were accessed or changed.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.