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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke October 22, 2020

Officials think Iran sent fake ‘Proud Boys’ emails threatening Democrats

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  • U.S. intelligence officials have said they believe Iran sent messages threatening some voters using a fake Proud Boys email address.

Fears of voter intimidation and possible violence followed the second presidential debate when President Donald Trump called for volunteers to monitor polling locations. 

During the same debate, he told the Proud Boys, a far right, all-male group with a history of violent confrontations, to "stand back and stand by." 

With less than two weeks to go before Election Day, some Democratic voters received threatening emails on Oct. 21 that appeared to come from the organization. 

The emails contained personal information and said, "You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you." They also included the false statement that "we will know which candidate you voted for."

A blog post in response to the news claimed that "leftists" actually sent the emails to Democrats. 

"Leftists created fake ‘Proud Boys’ website then sent emails to Democrats threatening them," the headline says.

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) 

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The blog post doesn’t provide evidence to support the claim that "leftists" created a fake Proud Boys website or that they sent the emails. 

But it doesn’t appear that the Proud Boys sent them either. 

U.S. intelligence officials recently announced they think Iran sent the threatening messages.

John Ratcliffe, the national intelligence director, said on Oct. 21 that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration data "to influence public opinion relating to our elections." 

Ratcliffe didn’t say how officials concluded that Iran was responsible, only that it was a voter intimidation tactic. 

"We have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran, and separately by Russia," Ratcliffe said. "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 undermine your confidence in American democracy."

We rate this blog post False.


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Officials think Iran sent fake ‘Proud Boys’ emails threatening Democrats

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