Sen. Rubio Warns of Increasing Disinformation Ahead of Nov. 3 Election

Sen. Rubio Warns of Increasing Disinformation Ahead of Nov. 3 Election
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) listens during a hearing in Washington, on June 10, 2020. (Al-Drago-Pool/Getty Images)
Masooma Haq
Acting Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Wednesday warned that countries working to destabilize the United States are prepared to interfere in upcoming elections either on or close to Election Day, echoing recent warnings from top federal law enforcement and intelligence officials.
“WARNING. The bulk of disinformation attacks prepared by our adversaries were designed for the days before & just after Election Day,” Rubio wrote to Twitter. "They may come faster than they can be spotted & called out, so word to the wise, the more outlandish the claim, the likelier it’s foreign influence.”

Rubio’s office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.

The senator’s comments comes a week after Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, alongside other top officials including FBI Director Christopher Wray, warned that Iran and Russia had gained access and obtained U.S. voting registration information and were acting “to influence public opinion related to our elections.”

Ratcliffe said during the rare press conference that the intelligence community was “prepared for the possibility of actions by those hostile to democracy.” Meanwhile, he said that the identified foreign activity had been caught “immediately” with the FBI and DHS acting “swiftly in response to this threat.”

“Our duty also includes empowering the American people to understand information or perhaps more accurately disinformation that they are seeing, particularly on the internet, and make informed decisions for themselves,” he said.

“With that in mind, we would like to alert the public that … we have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran, and separately by Russia. 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 undermined your confidence in American democracy.”

Ratcliffe explained that some Americans within the last 24 hours had been victims of these interference activities, receiving “spoofed emails” from Iran that are designed to intimidate and incite social unrest in the United States. He added that Iran was also spreading a video that included disinformation suggesting incorrectly that people could cast fraudulent ballots “even from overseas.”

He advised the public that should you get such an intimidating or manipulative email, do not be alarmed and do not pass it along to others.

Wray also addressed the nation during the announcement to reassure Americans that the nation’s election infrastructure “remains resilient.”

“You should be confident that your vote counts,” he said. “Early unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism. We encourage everyone to seek election and voting information from reliable sources, namely your state election officials, and to be thoughtful, careful, and discerning consumers of information online."

Melanie Sun contributed to this report.
Masooma Haq began reporting for The Epoch Times from Pakistan in 2008. She currently covers a variety of topics including U.S. government, culture, and entertainment.