House Homeland Security Committee Corrects The Record: Election Disinformation Campaign Isn’t Targeting Trump
In a short press statement on Wednesday, DNI John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray warned that foreign entities are again interfering in the U.S. election process. However, a Congressional committee is disputing one aspect of what was said.
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe spoke, saying that Russia and Iran have obtained voter registration information and may use it to interfere in U.S. elections. He noted that Iran has already sent emails with the intent of affecting the election — or, as he described it, to “intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump.”
This is the aspect that the House Homeland Security Committee disputes. While the committee doesn’t deny that the letters sent to voters were intended to affect the election, they’d like to set the record straight on the notion that Trump was the intended target for harm.
The threat from disinformation campaigns is real. We must be candid with Americans on the full scope of foreign disinformation campaigns, from both Russia & Iran, so Americans can be alert and resilient. You can't emphasize one threat over another to suit the President's ego.
— House Homeland Security Committee (@HomelandDems) October 22, 2020
The emails, which were designed to look as though they came from the Proud Boys group, were sent to registered Democrats, as reported by WUFT. The initial reported recipients in Florida were in one of only a few districts that Trump lost in 2016. The senders claimed to have significantly more personal information for the recipients than they could actually have gleaned from voter registration documentation, and claimed that they’d be able to tell how the recipient voted. They directed the recipients to change their voter registration from Democrat to Republican, and warned, “You will vote for Trump on election day, or we will come after you.”
The House Homeland Security Committee, as stated above, disagrees with the characterization that this is intended to hurt Donald Trump, as the emails, in fact, threaten voters with harm if they do not support him in the election.
DNI Ratcliffe also said that there is no evidence Russia has used the information at this point, but that they have obtained data “just as they did in 2016.” Donald Trump has repeatedly refused to address Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.