Iran behind fake emails designed to intimidate U.S. voters, officials say

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

U.S. officials have accused Iran of being behind a flurry of threatening but fake emails sent to Democratic voters in multiple battleground states in a late-stage efforts to sway public opinion and interfere in the presidential election.

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Purportedly from far-right, pro-Trump groups like the Proud Boys, the fake emails were apparently aimed at intimidating voters. John Ratcliffe, the government’s national intelligence director, said the aim was to hurt President Donald Trump in the contest against Democrat Joe Biden, though he did not elaborate on how.

One possibility is the messages may have been intended to align Trump in the minds of voters with the Proud Boys after he was criticized for failing to unequivocally denounce the group during the first presidential debate.

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The threatening emails officials did not lay out specific evidence for how they came to pinpoint Iran, but the activities attributed to Tehran would mark a significant escalation for a country some cybersecurity experts regard as a second-rate player in online espionage. The announcement was made late Wednesday at a hastily called news conference 13 days before the election.

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Lozano said during one exchange with Anchia."},{"_id":"R5NFGUGSSVALJG4EFEIL2PBP2I","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1630065775609},"type":"text","content":"The bill now goes back to the state Senate, which already signed off on a similar version this month following a 15-hour filibuster by Democrat Carol Alvarado."},{"_id":"IBNATRV2JBE3BOPOB3BA5EURKQ","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1630065775610},"type":"text","content":"That was another last-ditch gambit by Texas Democrats who have virtually no legislative means left to stop new voting measures in the state — which already has some of the nation’s toughest election laws. Abbott, who is up for reelection in 2022, has demanded the bill and swiftly vetoed paychecks for 2,100 legislative staffers after Democrats first blocked the legislation by walking out of the state Capitol in May."},{"_id":"INJHCXEIONCJXJTZIAOFT57MHI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1630065775611},"type":"text","content":"Abbott then had to call a special session to take up voting restrictions. Democrats again walked out in July, with dozens boarding private jets to the nation’s capital."},{"_id":"VBKIUQ5NYBCVVFJTUVAOG73J2A","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1630065775612},"type":"text","content":"Without a quorum of 100 legislators necessary to do business, Republicans were left waiting, frustrated by Democrats, but knowing time was on their side. 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Many of the provisions take aim at Harris County — which includes Houston and is a major Democratic stronghold — after leaders there expanded ways to vote during the COVID-19 pandemic."},{"_id":"4DY232WOVBCIFNBSE754NR2WLI","additional_properties":{"inline_comments":[],"comments":[],"_id":1630065775615},"type":"text","content":"It also states that poll watchers, who are appointed by campaigns and political parties, cannot be denied “free movement” and makes it a crime for elections judges to obstruct them. 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