Are Proud Boys intimidating voters? Here's the truth behind fake emails threatening 'vote for Trump or else!'

On 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

                            Are Proud Boys intimidating voters? Here's the truth behind fake emails threatening 'vote for Trump or else!'

On Tuesday, October 20, Democratic voters in Alachua County, Florida, began receiving an email and so did voters in Alaska and Arizona. Early voting began in Florida on Monday, October 19. The emails looked like they came from the right-wing group the Proud Boys and the address from which it came was said to be [email protected], according to a report by CBS News.

The subject line read: “Vote for Trump or else!” According to CBS News, the contents of the email read: “We are in possession of all your information (email, address, telephone… everything). You are currently registered as a Democrat and we know this because we have gained access into the entire voting infrastructure."

The email added, "You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you. Change your party affiliation to Republican to let us know you received our message and will comply. We will know which candidate you voted for. I would take this seriously if I were you.”

Even though it seemed to have been sent from an account under the domain of a website affiliated with the Proud Boys, a review of the source code embedded in seven emails by CBS News shows the message originated from IP addresses linked to servers located in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Estonia.

The report further states that the IP addresses don’t mean that the senders are based in those countries, because the messages could have been routed through the servers from nearly anywhere, according to Dmitri Alperovitch, the co-founder and former chief technology officer of cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike. He noted that the messages were sent through a “cloud infrastructure provider in Saudi Arabia called 'Saudi Executive Cloud.”

Alperovitch told CBS News via email: “It could be that they are simply relaying through this infrastructure. In fact, given how this email was sent, using their web interface, that's most likely the case — that the people behind this found a vulnerable server in Saudi through which they can route lots of emails.”

Alperovitch, who reviewed the source code from one of the emails, suggested that while the emails were sent through overseas servers, “there is no indication to suggest that it is a nation-state or otherwise foreign campaign.” He explained, “These types of email campaigns are unfortunately trivial to execute for anyone with an internet connection and a just modicum of technical ability.”

According to CBS News, Enrique Tarrio, a Proud Boy leader, on Tuesday, October 20, said that the group wasn't involved and that he didn't know who sent the emails. He said he's been in touch with the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections as well as the FBI. According to Tarrio, the emails were sent by “somebody that's not very fond of us.”

He said, “If somebody's trying to intimidate voters, they're probably successful, the damage is done to some people that aren't very media savvy, you know, like a 70-year-old that gets an email like this and is not going to go out to vote.”

However, in a recent development, 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, according to a report by ABC News, “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 the ABC News report, he also alleged that Iran was separately behind a series of threatening emails. These emails sent to Democratic voters, which Ratcliffe said was “designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”

Twitter users also weighed in on this topic. One user suggested, “Remember when the left was crying about Russian bots on social media? Now we see actual bots posing as proud boys and all of a sudden it’s not a big deal. The last four years have been incredible.” One alleged, “Pretty sure they’re covering up for the proud boys with that Iran story though.”

A user shared, “And to get the Proud Boys off the hook. Yesterday people had emails showing they were from Trump cult groups, now they are saying Russia and Iran. I don't believe a word anyone from this administration utters.” A user questioned, “Today voters in several states received emails stating "Vote for Trump or else!" They were sent from a Proud Boys account, but from Iran and maybe Russia. DNI Ratcliffe said, they were meant to hurt Trump. Really?”

Another alleged, “How do we know this isn’t fake news to cover up for the Proud Boys?   Sounds like another ploy for Trump to claim the election is rigged. He plans to win by any means necessary.  The night before a debate — here we go again!”










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