Russia and Iran are attempting to influence the 2020 elections and have obtained some voter registration information, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said at an FBI press conference on Wednesday.
Ratcliffe noted that both nations had taken specific actions to influence voters' opinions. He noted that the registration information they obtained could be used to confuse voters through false communication.
Noting that his agency was responsible for investigating election crimes, FBI Director Christopher Wray vowed to take action in order to ensure the integrity of U.S. elections. He said that Americans should be "confident" that their votes count.
"We are not going to let our guard down," he added.
Ratcliffe and Wray said the U.S. will impose costs on any foreign countries interfering in the 2020 U.S. election. Despite the Iranian and Russian actions, they said Americans can be confident that their vote will be counted.
"These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries," Ractliffe said.
The news conference was held as Democratic voters in at least four battleground states, including Florida, have received threatening emails, falsely purporting to be from the far-right group Proud Boys, that warned "we will come after you" if the recipients didn't vote for President Donald Trump.
The voter-intimidation operation apparently used email addresses obtained from state voter registration lists, which include party affiliation and home addresses and can include email addresses and phone numbers. Those addresses were then used in an apparently widespread targeted spamming operation.
The senders claimed they would know which candidate the recipient was voting for in the Nov. 3 election, for which early voting is ongoing.