Voter Data Being Used To Disrupt US Election

US intelligence agencies are accusing Iran and Russia of trying to use voter registration data in “desperate attempts” to sow chaos and confusion ahead of the US presidential election. US the officials also warn that Iran is responsible for sending threatening emails to Democratic voters. The emails appeared to come from a far-right pro-Trump group and were meant to "incite unrest". 

National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe appeared alongside FBI Director Chris Wray at a hastily arranged news conference this week where he said that both  Iran and Russia have stolen data about the election in the hope of influencing the outcome. He also said Iran had sent “spoofed emails designed to intimidate” voters. 

Some Florida voters were recently sent email messages purporting to be from the 'Proud Boys' right-wing extremist group urging the recipients to vote for Donald Trump. Ratcliffe said that the voter contact data could be used in attempts to "communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will sow confusion chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy".

The announcement comes just two weeks before the election and shows the level of alarm among US intelligence officials that foreign actors were seeking to undermine Americans’ confidence in the integrity of the vote and spread misinformation in an attempt to sway its outcome.

In many states, voter data is available upon request, though each state has different requirements on who can request voter information, what data is available and how this data might be used, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.“We have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran, and separately, by Russia,” Ratcliffe said during the news conference. 

Democrats and a group of former intelligence officials have accused Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman tapped to lead the intelligence community this year, of selectively declassifying intelligence in the run-up to the election to help Trump's campaign and Democrats on the Homeland Security Committee criticised him after the news conference. 

US Intelligence have also said that China and Iran favor Democratic candidate Joe Biden, whereas Russia favors President Donald Trump and last month the FBI stated that false claims of hacked voter information were likely intended to undermine the credibility of elections. 

US intelligence say that the federal government has in many areas improved its methods of election threats detection. 
David Imbordino, the NSA’s elections security lead, told reportersthat the “adversary landscape” is bigger this year than previously. 

Reuters:     BBC:     CNN:    VOA:      Telegraph:      DefenseOne

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