DNI Office to Brief Florida Lawmakers on Iran, Russia Meddling

DNI Office to Brief Florida Lawmakers on Iran, Russia Meddling

A bipartisan group of Florida lawmakers will be briefed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence about recent election meddling efforts by Russia and Iran, the Washington Examiner reports.

The move comes after Iran reportedly sent emails to Democratic voters in Florida threatening to “come after” them if they did not vote for President Donald Trump. The emails claimed to be from the far-right group Proud Boys.

Both Russia and Iran have obtained voter registration information, according to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, but so far Russia does not appear to have used it.

The upcoming briefing was requested by Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., and Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla. The Examiner reported an ODNI spokesperson responded Tuesday that “the ODNI is working with Reps. Waltz and Murphy to provide them details on the most recent threat reporting impacting their districts.”

A few of the emails also were sent to voters in Alaska, Pennsylvania, and Arizona.

Ratcliffe last week said, “we have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and separately by Russia. This data can be used by foreign actors to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy.”

He said the effort was an attempt to harm Trump’s reelection.

“We have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump. … Additionally, Iran is distributing other content to include a video that implies that individuals could cast fraudulent ballots, even from overseas. This video and other claims about allegedly fraudulent ballots are not true. These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries.”

Democrats have questioned Ratcliff’s assessment of Iran as the actor, pointing instead to Russia.

“Russia is the villain here, from what we have seen in the public domain,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said. “Iran is a bad actor but in no way equivalent.”

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