Who is John Ratcliffe? DNI claims Iran, Russia trying to influence US election, Internet says 'nice bullsh*t'
On Wednesday, October 21, senior national security officials alleged that Iran and Russia have both obtained voter data in their efforts to interfere in the 2020 US election. In a news conference, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) John Ratcliffe said, “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy.”
According to an ABC News report, he also alleged that Iran was separately behind a series of threatening emails. These emails were found to be sent this week to Democratic voters, which Ratcliffe said was “designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”
Previously, Florida law enforcement and the FBI had said they were investigating the threatening emails allegedly sent from outside the US to registered Democrats. According to authorities, these emails claimed to be from by a member of the Proud Boys, but the group has denied this claim.
According to the Brevard County and Alachua County sheriffs' offices, the sender claimed to belong to the “alt-right” group and claimed that they had voters' personal information.
The Brevard County Sheriff's Office said the email addressed the voter by name, then stated: “We are in possession of all your information. You are currently registered as a Democrat and we know this because we have gained access into the entire voting infrastructure. You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you.”
The DNI also accused Iran of distributing content including a video that indicated that individuals “could cast fraudulent ballots, even from overseas”. He said, “This video and any claims about such allegedly fraudulent ballots are not true. These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries. Even if the adversaries pursue further attempts to intimidate or attempt to undermine border confidence, know that our election systems are resilient and you can be confident your votes are secure.”
According to Business Insider, Ratcliffe also said, “Although we have not seen the same actions from Russia, we are aware that they have obtained some voter information just as they did in 2016. We are prepared for the possibility of actions by those hostile to democracy.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray separately spoke at the news conference. He said, “When we see indications of foreign interference or federal election crimes, we are going to aggressively investigate and work with our partners to take appropriate action. You should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.”
The announcement followed a joint statement by the Senate Intelligence Committee chairs Marco Rubio and ranking member Mark Warner concerning election security.
The statement read, “Our adversaries abroad seek to sow chaos and undermine voters' belief in our democratic institutions, including the election systems and infrastructure that we rely on to record and properly report expressions of the voters' will. They may seek to target those systems, or simply leave the impression that they have altered or manipulated those systems, in order to undermine their credibility and our confidence in them.”
Who is John Ratcliffe?
Ratcliffe is an American politician and attorney who is currently the Director of National Intelligence in the Donald Trump administration. Previously, he served as the Representative for Texas's 4th district from 2015 to 2020. In 2019, Trump had announced that planned to nominate Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence. However, Ratcliffe withdrew his nomination. He was again nominated by Trump in 2020 for the same position and after Senate approval; he resigned from the House and was sworn in May.
According to a May 2020 NPR report, in Congress, Ratcliffe was an honest supporter of Trump and supposedly has questioned the validity of the Russian investigation a few times. Since 2019, he had served on the House Intelligence Committee but had far less experience than any previous director of national intelligence. The post had been created after the September 11 attacks to coordinate US intelligence efforts.
During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Democrats had asked him whether he would be able to present the “unvarnished truth” and give information to Trump that the president did not want to hear. “I'm sure going to get a lot of questions about what the president says, or what the president thinks. Regardless of what he says, it will not impact the intelligence that I deliver.”
Soon after the announcement, Twitter began to discuss the issue. One alleged, “Doe @DNI_Ratcliffe think we’re an idiot. Iran now wants “to hurt trump” by telling Dems not to vote for Trump. No mention of Russian actions.”
Another alleged, “Anything that comes out of @DNI_Ratcliffe’s mouth is a lie. Iran is not trying to hurt Trump. nice bulls**t “Add On” It’s probably Trump’s campaign sending emails and using Iran as a scapegoat so Trump can segue into using this to contest the election.” One concurred, “Iran helping trump? Hard to believe. I don't trust anything coming from Radcliff.”
Another questioned, “Seriously, the press conference seemed like a October Surprise (almost 4 years to the day) but falls far short. Iran sending emails and a video? Russia, well we have not caught Russia redhanded yet... That's it?” A user shared, “Russia & Iran interfering with our election is hardly surprising news to anyone whose been paying attention the last 4 years.”
Doe @DNI_Ratcliffe think we’re an idiot. Iran now wants “to hurt trump” by telling Dems not to vote for Trump. No mention of Russian actions. pic.twitter.com/6oaGlxEzjY— #VoteHimOut INDEPENDENT FOR BIDEN (@BrezzyG5) October 22, 2020
Anything that comes out of @DNI_Ratcliffe ‘s mouth is a lie. Iran is not trying to hurt Trump. 🙄 nice bullshit “Add On” It’s probably Trump’s campaign sending emails and using Iran as a scapegoat so Trump can segue into using this to contest the election.— Windmill Life 💨🌊 (@krisnfla) October 22, 2020
Iran helping trump? Hard to believe. I don't trust anything coming from Radcliff.— Lorenzo Monno (@LmMonno) October 22, 2020
Seriously, the press conference seemed like a October Surprise (almost 4 years to the day) but falls far short. Iran sending emails and a video? Russia, well we have not caught Russia redhanded yet... That's it?— BobL (@BobLu6) October 22, 2020
Russia & Iran interfering with our election is hardly surprising news to anyone whose been paying attention the last 4 years.— Macy 🌊🏴☠️ (@catquotingseer) October 22, 2020
These remarks were made by the internet and individual organizations, MEAWW cannot confirm them independently nor does it support these claims being made on the Internet