FBI accuses Iran of threatening US election officials
Posted December 23, 2020 6:53 p.m. EST
CNN — Iranian cyber actors were behind online death threats targeting US election officials, the FBI announced on Wednesday.
Officials said individuals associated with the Iranian regime operated multiple websites following the election, including one titled "enemiesofthepeople," which contained personal information and photos of government and private sector officials involved in managing the 2020 US election.
Among those targeted online were Christopher Krebs, the former head of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, a person familiar with the FBI's investigation told CNN.
Krebs made news in the aftermath of the 2020 election by publicly refuting false claims by President Donald Trump and other Republican officials that there was mass voter fraud associated with the election. After fact checking conspiracy theories being pushed by Trump, Krebs was fired from his position at the Department of Homeland Security.
The online targeting of Krebs by Iranian cyber actors was first reported by The Washington Post, which also identified FBI Director Christopher Wray as one of the US government officials targeted online.
An FBI spokesperson declined to comment on the identities of US election officials threatened by Iran.
In its statement on Wednesday, publicly calling out the Iranian regime, the FBI said, "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."
Wednesday's announcement was not the first time the US government has blamed Iran for nefarious 2020 election-related activity.
As CNN previously reported, in a news conference at FBI headquarters in October, Wray and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced that Iran and Russia had obtained US voter registration information in an effort to interfere in the election. The Iranian regime was accused of posing as the far-right group Proud Boys to send intimidating emails to voters.
In a cyber security bulletin sent to government agencies and private industry after the October news conference, the FBI and DHS accused Iran of 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."