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Senate Intel leadership urges American vigilance amid foreign election interference

Senate Intel leadership urges American vigilance amid foreign election interference
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The top Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday urged Americans to be vigilant in the face of disinformation after the FBI confirmed efforts by Iran and Russia to spread disinformation ahead of the Nov. 3 elections. 

Committee acting Chairman Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDemocrats brush off calls for Biden to play hardball on Cabinet picks GOP senator congratulates Biden, says Trump should accept results GOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics MORE (R-Fla.) and Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLeadership changes at top cyber agency raise national security concerns IRS races to get remaining stimulus checks to low-income households Hillicon Valley: Trump fires top federal cybersecurity official, GOP senators push back | Apple to pay 3 million to resolve fight over batteries | Los Angeles Police ban use of third-party facial recognition software MORE (D-Va.) issued a joint statement following the announcement by top intelligence officials Wednesday night that Iran had perpetrated a predatory disinformation campaign aimed at intimidating and threatening American voters. 

“It is clear that Iran is now actively seeking to sow dissent and divide us, much like Russia did in 2016 and continues to do today,” Rubio and Warner said in a joint statement.

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In a joint press conference Wednesday night, Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeProfiles in cowardice: Trump's Senate enablers Biden considering King for director of national intelligence: report Haspel not in attendance at latest Trump intelligence briefing: reports MORE and FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information and attempted to use it to influence public opinion, spread false information, cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine the upcoming elections. 

In particular, Ratcliffe said Iranian actors had sent “spoofed” emails to intimidate voters, “incite social unrest and damage President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield for UN ambassador: reports Scranton dedicates 'Joe Biden Way' to honor president-elect Kasich: Republicans 'either in complete lockstep' or 'afraid' of Trump MORE.” 

The top lawmakers on the Intelligence panel on Thursday urged Americans and the media “to be skeptical of sensationalist, last-minute claims about election infrastructure” and made a bipartisan show of force as a warning against any foreign actors aiming to interfere in the U.S. elections.  

“Republicans and Democrats are united when we say that continued attempts to sow dissent, cast doubt on election results, or disrupt our election systems and infrastructure will necessitate a severe response,” Rubio and Warner said.