- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 22, 2020

Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence warned foreign adversaries Thursday not to meddle in next month’s elections while urging Americans to stay vigilant.

Acting Chairman Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, and Vice Chairman Mark Warner, Virginia Democrat, were responding to the government disclosing attempts by Iran and Russia to interfere in the race.

“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,” Mr. Rubio and Mr. Warner reacted in a joint statement.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Wednesday that Iran and Russia have accessed voter information and taken “specific actions to influence public opinion” about the elections.

Mr. Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman for Texas, said Iran was to blame for “spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters,” referring to threatening messages voters received a day earlier.

Those emails, received by voters in at least two states, claimed to be coming from the controversial Proud Boys group and said they had compromised voting infrastructure and had accessed records.

“To the American people and the media, we reiterate the need to be skeptical of sensationalist, last-minute claims about election infrastructure,” reacted Mr. Rubio and Mr. Warner.

“To our adversaries, we reiterate DNI Ratcliffe’s warning against interfering in America’s electoral process,” the senators said in the statement. “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.”

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has previously accused Russia of actively interfering in the election by trying to denigrate the campaign of Democratic nominee Joseph R. Biden.

Russians have also obtained voter registration information, Mr. Ratcliffe said Wednesday, adding Moscow could potentially use it cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine confidence in the election.

Iranian and Russian officials have denied attempting to interfere in the U.S. elections.

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