Senate Intel leadership urges American vigilance amid foreign election interference
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 Rubio (R-Fla.) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (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.
In a joint press conference Wednesday night, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe 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 Trump.”
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.