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Reports: Iran incited violence online against officials debunking Trump election claims

Investigators found Iran was behind an online drive to incite lethal violence against FBI Director Chris Wray and other officials who refuted President Trump and his supporters' baseless election claims, the Washington Post first reported Tuesday.

Why it matters: The FBI's findings on the "Enemies of the People" site, which outlets report featured officials' addresses and other personal details alongside photos of them with crosshairs over them, indicate Iran has tried to cause discord in the U.S. before and after the election.


Details: Other targets on the now-defunct site and associated social media posts include former election security official Chris Krebs, who was fired by Trump after debunking election misinformation, alongside false claims about the election result, WashPost notes.

  • Also featured were two GOP governors who certified President-elect Joe Biden's election win: Arizona's Doug Ducey and Georgia's Brian Kemp, per the Wall Street Journal. Kemp said last week that pro-Trump conspiracy theorists had threatened his family.
  • Disinformation was also spread on the site against voting machine companies, with far-right social media users calling for a 20-year-old Dominion Voting Systems worker's "imprisonment, torture or execution," with one post featuring an "animated image of a hanging noose," WashPost reports.

What they're saying: WashPost obtained a statement from the bureau sent to several officials featured on the site saying, "The FBI is in possession of highly credible information indicating Iranian advanced persistent threat actors were almost certainly responsible for the creation of a website, called 'Enemies of the People' containing death threats aimed at U.S. election officials in mid-December 2020."

  • The FBI did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

Of note: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in October that Iran had sent threatening emails to Democratic voters in the U.S. and spreading videos claiming people could vote more than once.

  • Iran at the time denied it was trying to interfere in the U.S. presidential election.

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