Dec. 24 (UPI) — The FBI on Wednesday blamed Iran for creating a website in the weeks following the U.S. presidential election that called for the deaths of American election officials.
In a statement, the FBI said Wednesday it has “highly credible information” that identifies Iranian cyberactors as being “almost certainly” responsible for the creation of the Enemies of the People website that listed personal information and photographs of U.S. officials and workers from private sector companies that were involved with the 2020 election, many of whom would defend it from widely discredited allegations of voter fraud spouted by the president and his campaign and supporters.
“The post-election creation of the Enemies of the People website demonstrates an ongoing Iranian intent to create divisions and mistrust in the United States and undermine public confidence in the U.S. electoral process,” the FBI said. “The FBI and [the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency] urge the public to critically evaluate the sources of the information they consume and to seek out reliable and verified information.”
Threatening emails were also sent to officials from email accounts associated with the website, which is no longer active.
The website, when it was up, published the images, home addresses and other such information of U.S. officials involved in the election, including FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Christopher Krebs, the CISA head who Trump fired last month after pushing back against the president’s claims of voter fraud, The Washington Post reported.
Crosshairs were also superimposed on the officials’ images, falsely stating they had “aided and abetted the fraudulent election against Trump.”
In October, National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe in a press conference said Iran had obtained voter information ahead of the election and was responsible for an email campaign intended to intimidate Democratic voters.
Ratcliffe said the Tehran-backed cyberactors spoofed emails sent to voters that warned them to “vote for Trump or we will come after you.” The emails were purportedly sent by the Proud Boys, a far-right, male-only organization that supports Trump and has ties to White supremacy.
The FBI and CISA have previously issued advisories warning the public that Iran was seeking to interfere in the presidential election.
In an advisory dated Oct. 22, a day after Ratcliffe’s press conference, the two agencies warned Iranian advanced persistent threat actors “are creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread obtained U.S. voter-registration data, anti-American propaganda and misinformation about voter suppression, voter fraud and ballot fraud.”
In August, CISA assessed that Iran and China were attempting to influence the election, with Tehran seeking to “divide the country in advance of the 2020 elections.”
It said Tehran was seeking to undermine Trump as it viewed the president’s re-election “would result in a continuation of U.S. pressure on Iran in an effort to foment regime change.”
The Trump administration has taken a harsher stance against Tehran than its predecessor, repeatedly imposing sanctions targeting the Middle Eastern country in hopes to force it to negotiate a new accord that would prevent it from developing a nuclear weapon.