Law enforcement officials were reportedly notified after voters in multiple states received emails purporting to be from the “Proud Boys” organization filled with intimidating threats aimed at Democrats.
CNN and The Washington Post reported that voters in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Alaska and Florida all said they received threatening emails warning them to vote for President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE in the upcoming election, adding that the mysterious sender claimed to have access to voter history and “will come after you” should they fail to vote for the president.
“You will vote for Trump on Election Day or we will come after you,” reads one email obtained by the Post. Dozens were reportedly sent, including more than 180 to students, faculty and staff of the University of Florida, a school spokesperson told CNN.
The head of the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) tweeted that the agency was “aware of threatening emails with misleading info about the secrecy of your vote.
“This is what we mean by not falling for sensational and unverified claims. The last line of defense in election security is you – the American voter. So be prepared, be a smart consumer and sharer of information. Vote with confidence,” added Chris Krebs.
This is what we mean by not falling for sensational and unverified claims. The last line of defense in election security is you – the American voter. So be prepared, be a smart consumer and sharer of information. Vote with confidence. #Protect2020
— Chris Krebs #Protect2020 (@CISAKrebs) October 21, 2020
Elections officials in Alaska and Florida confirmed to CNN that they were aware of the emails, with Alaska’s Division of Elections telling the network that federal authorities had been alerted. Representatives with elections boards in Pennsylvania and Arizona did not immediately return The Hill’s requests for comment. A spokesperson for the FBI’s field office in Anchorage also did not immediately return a request for comment from the Post.
The leader of the “Proud Boys,” a right-leaning group known for street violence against left-leaning protesters, told USA Today and CNN in a statement that his group was not responsible for the emails, which appeared to have been sent from an email address affiliated with the group but may have been the result of spoofing software, one expert told CNN.
“No, it wasn’t us. The people [who sent the emails] used a spoofing email that pretended to be us,” Enrique Tarrio said. “Whoever did this should be in prison for a long time.”
“We have spoken to the FBI and are working with them. I hope whoever did this is arrested for voter intimidation and for maliciously impersonating our group,” he added.
President Trump recently faced criticism after he demurred follow his prompting by Fox News’s Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceSupreme Court’s Pennsylvania mail ballot ruling tees up test for Barrett Commission approves rules to mute mics at final Trump-Biden debate 10 steps toward better presidential debating MORE to disavow the group during the first presidential debate between him and former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE (D), his Democratic opponent.
“Stand back and stand by,” Trump said during the contentious debate.