The FBI have addressed concerns and stated that Iran and Russia have got a hold of voters’ data ahead of the US Presidential Election in a one-off rare press conference on Wednesday 21st October.
Iran has obtained voter information off the back of the first early ballots in certain states, and have been emailing voters with threatening messages. These messages display a clear threat from the sender that they will “come after” those that do not vote for Trump over the coming days.
The emails have come from a far-right group in Iran linked to Donald Trump, the Proud Boys, who have specifically targeted registered Democratic voters casting early ballots in battleground states such as Florida and Pennsylvania amongst others, as reported by Sky News.
The senders of these messages have supposedly acquired email addresses from state voter registration lists, which is available upon request in some states, but this data also comes with details of home addresses, phone numbers and details of the voter’s affiliation to political parties.
Director of the FBI, Chris Wray, highlighted there will be costs imposed by the US onto any country who is found to have interfered with American democratic processes, and John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence also emphasises that this is not the first time Iranian emails have got in the way of American politics.
The BBC, in their report on the issue drew attention to the fact that this one-off conference from Ratcliffe demonstrates the government’s concerns regarding foreign influence in the upcoming election.
It is not the first time the US Presidential Election has been interfered with, as the 2016 Election was the subject of Russian interference, when Russia’s GRU military intelligence agency tried to influence election infrastructure to sway the election result in Trump’s favour. There is also continued uncertainty about Russia’s potential role in altering voting tallies to create a desired final result.
Russia has also obtained voter information for this election, but separately to Iran and has not done anything with this information.
There is no record of any Iranian breach of US networks and both Russia and Iran have heavily denied the accusations.