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FBI says Iran behind threatening emails sent to Florida Democrats

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The FBI has claimed that Iranian intelligence was responsible for a number of threatening emails sent to Democratic voters in the state of Florida. 

The emails contained threats supposedly from the right-wing group Proud Boys instructing voters to switch allegiances to the Republican Party.

John Ratcliffe, Director of National Intelligence for the Trump Administration, said that the emails were part of a disinformation campaign by Iran aimed at inciting social unrest and damaging Trump’s campaign for a second term.  It is not clear how the emails would have achieved those aims given that they instructed voters to support Trump, but it is possible that by reinforcing the connection between the president and right-wing extremists, it could have swayed voters. Iran has swiftly denied the allegations.

“Unlike the US, Iran does not interfere in other country's elections," Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for the Iranian Mission to the UN, said in a statement. 

"The world has been witnessing the US's own desperate public attempts to question the outcome of its own elections at the highest level. These accusations are nothing more than another scenario to undermine voter confidence in the security of the US election and are absurd."

More meddling?

Ratcliffe claimed that Russia was also working to influence the upcoming presidential election, claiming that both Iranian and Russian intelligence agencies had gained access to registration information connected to US voters. Russia also dismissed the claims of interference, calling them “absolutely groundless.”

Away from the political back-and-forth, Google did confirm that it had seen evidence of an operation connected to Iran that was responsible for thousands of spam emails sent to US email accounts. Related videos posted to a Google Drive account and YouTube had also been removed.

The claims of election meddling should come as no surprise given the rumours that surrounded the 2016 presidential election. Whether US voters choose Trump or Biden, the election result is sure to be contested by some.

Via NBC News