Intelligence experts are responding to Wednesday night’s announcement by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe claiming that election interference emails that appear to from the U.S.-based hate group known as the Proud Boys are actually from Iran.
The emails threaten recipients to vote for President Donald Trump.
Shortly after Ratcliffe announced the emails were designed to harm President Trump, not influence Americans to vote for him, intelligence experts denounced his claims as “too convenient to be believable.”
U.S. Naval War College Professor of International Relations and National Security:
I find this Iran story too convenient to be believable wo more evidence from Ratcliffe, who has been quite willing to declassify raw intel after all https://t.co/Ka44obAts4
— David Burbach (@dburbach) October 22, 2020
CNN National Security and Legal Analyst, Former Intel Community attorney says “Ratcliffe isn’t a credible actor”:
"Proud Boys Send Emails Threatening People Who Don't Vote For Trump" is obviously a bad headline for Trump and the foreseeable outcome of sending those messages.
It's notable Wray didn't repeat assessment and Ratcliffe isn't a credible actor. But there is logic to the claim. https://t.co/2SXAFOmjt6
— Susan Hennessey (@Susan_Hennessey) October 22, 2020
Former federal prosecutor, NBC News and MSNBC Legal Analyst:
The fake/foreign emails told people to vote for Trump (I’ve seen them). DNI Ratcliffe (the guy who lied about prosecuting terrorism cases) said the fake emails ARE TRYING TO HURT TRUMP! This is disinformation from Ratcliffe designed to energize Trump’s base!
— Glenn Kirschner (@glennkirschner2) October 22, 2020
U.S. Congressman Ted Lieu (D-CA) who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee and is a Colonel in the Air Force Reserves:
Dear @ODNIgov Ratcliffe: Actually, @DHSgov officials say that Iran sent spoofed emails to intimidate voters to vote FOR Donald Trump. Are you being fully honest with the American people? https://t.co/w1qvgWrPsR
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 21, 2020
Dear @DNI_Ratcliffe: Did you even review the emails that @DHSgov officials say Iran sent? Those emails intimidate DEMOCRATS and warn them to vote for Trump. That hurts @JoeBiden. So is there another email you are referring to, or are you misleading the American people? https://t.co/Z42at3xd7G
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) October 22, 2020
Head of Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism’s digital security initiative questions Ratcliffe’s intentions:
Hate to say it … but that press conference about Iranian efforts to sow confusion …. is sowing quite a bit of confusion itself. I don’t think this was the intention of Demers, @CISAKrebs, or @FBI – but the DNI? We’ll see….
— Marc Ambinder (@marcambinder) October 22, 2020
Managing Director for National Security at the Center for American Progress. Formerly National Security Council, DOJ, ODNI, NCTC also questioning Ratcliffe’s motives:
I’m not rushing to think that press conference was politically motivated but I would feel better if Demers or Krebs had spoken. Why didn’t we hear from them? Why did Ratcliffe lead when domestic election infrastructure is DHS’s responsibility?
— katrina mulligan (@NatSecMulligan) October 22, 2020
On Tuesday The New York Times ran an opinion piece calling Ratcliffe “among the most destructive intelligence officials in U.S. history.” The title: “The Intelligence Director Who Is Undermining Trust and Truth.”
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