Iran targeting U.S. state voter rolls and spreading election propaganda, officials say


Tom Winter, Ken Dilanian, Kevin Collier and Dartunorro Clark

4h ago / 2:22 AM UTC

The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency both issued advisories Friday warning that Iran is spreading propaganda and targeting U.S. state websites, including election sites, in “an intentional effort to influence and interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.”

The FBI sent a FLASH bulletin to various states, saying an Iranian group is “creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread anti-American propaganda and misinformation about voter suppression.” It added, “This group has been linked to efforts to disseminate a propaganda video concerning voter fraud and hacking of U.S. voter information. The FBI advises this video is almost certainly intended to make U.S. voter information and the voting process appear insecure and susceptible to fraud.”

The CISA advisory went further, stating that the Iranian hackers have also “successfully obtained voter registration data in at least one state.” The agency did not disclose which state.

Both the FBI and CISA confirmed that “a review of the records that were copied and obtained reveals the information was used in the propaganda video.”

There is no indication that any voter registration databases have been manipulated or any votes have been changed.

Click here for the full story

Photos: Stores are boarding up windows over Election Day protest fears

In New York: 

Workers board up windows at the Chanel, Tiffany & Co. store in Soho, New York on Oct. 30, 2020.Luis Andy

In Washington: 

A worker boards up the Angels Share Wines and Liquors store in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington DC on Oct. 30, 2020.@cenksidar

Ken Dilanian and Tom Winter

7h ago / 11:36 PM UTC

Here’s what happened when NBC News tried to report on the alleged Hunter Biden emails

The complaints from President Donald Trump and his allies have been growing louder as the election approaches: Why isn’t the mainstream media covering the Hunter Biden laptop story?

Trump and his allies say there is evidence of corruption in emails and documents allegedly found on a laptop belonging to Democrat Joe Biden’s son. They say those and other documents show that Hunter Biden used his father’s influence to enrich himself through business deals in Ukraine and China, and that his father not only facilitated that, but may have benefited financially.

But the Wall Street Journal and Fox News — among the only news organizations that have been given access to key documents — found that the emails and other records don’t make that case. Leaving aside the many questions about their provenance, the materials offered no evidence that Joe Biden played any role in his son’s dealings in China, let alone profited from them, both news organizations concluded.

As to Ukraine, a single email published by the New York Post suggests Joe Biden may have had a meeting with a representative of a Ukrainian company that employed his son. Trump and his allies alleged that means Joe Biden has lied when he said he never discussed his son’s business roles. The Biden campaign denies the meeting happened.

The lack of major new revelations is perhaps the biggest reason the story has not gotten traction, but not the only one. Among others: Most mainstream news organizations, including NBC News, have not been granted access to the documents. NBC News asked by email, text, phone call and certified mail, and was ultimately denied.

And, although no evidence has emerged that the documents are the product of Russian disinformation, as some experts initially suggested, many questions remain about how the materials got into the hands of Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has met with Russian agents in his effort to dig dirt on the Bidens.

Click here to read the full story. 

David Ingram

7h ago / 11:00 PM UTC

Trump, Biden campaigns blame Facebook for ad problems

A Facebook “like” sign at Facebook’s corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, Calif.Josh Edelson / AFP – Getty Images file

The campaigns for former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump said Friday they were having difficulty running some ads on Facebook, hindering their ability to reach voters on social media for at least the second straight day.

“We are just a few days from the election & thousands of pre-approved Biden ads are still not live on Facebook,” Biden adviser Megan Clasen tweeted.

“We are working with FB (flagging problems, having meetings, etc.) to try to resolve each specific issue – but unclear when they can be fixed,” she said. The Biden campaign had described similar frustrations Thursday.

The Trump campaign said it also was experiencing technical issues Friday, though it did not give details.

“The Silicon Valley Mafia is now turning it up a notch, stopping us from running approved ads in the days before millions of Americans cast their ballots,” Trump campaign spokesperson Samantha Zager said in an email. She said Facebook’s rules around ads amounted to censorship.

Read the full story.

Marianna Sotomayor

8h ago / 10:42 PM UTC

‘We’re gonna take care of them as well’: Biden on protestors trolling him during speech

Joe Biden tried to keep his cool as he was being trolled by dozens of President Trump’s supporters with loud horns, prompting him at several points during his speech in Minnesota to point out that while he finds them annoying, he would work to represent them as their president. 

“These guys are not very polite but they’re like Trump, but look we’re gonna be okay. We’re gonna take care of them as well. We need to come together. We need to fight for all these folks,” he said beginning his remarks in St. Paul.

Biden went hard on the president’s coronavirus and healthcare record, becoming increasingly passionate as he responded to Trump falsely telling people in Michigan today that doctors are faking the number of coronavirus deaths because they get paid more when a patient succumbs to the disease.

“Doctors and nurses go to work every day to save lives. They do their jobs. Donald Trump should stop attacking them and do his job,” he said. “Folks, this is the same man who weeks ago, when he was told we are losing a thousand lives a day, remember what he said? He said ‘It is what it is.’ That’s thoughtful. It is what it is because he is who he is.”

Biden reiterated his call for people to protect each other from the virus by wearing masks, noting that doing so “isn’t a political statement like those ugly folks over there beeping the horns. This is a patriotic duty, for God sake.”

Tom Winter

8h ago / 10:29 PM UTC

Iran targeting state election websites: Intelligence agencies

The FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency say that Iran is targeting U.S. state websites, including election websites in “an intentional effort to influence and interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.”

A FBI bulletin has been transmitted to various states, saying, “are creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread anti-American propaganda and misinformation about voter suppression.” 

The CISA advisory says the Iranian hackers have, “successfully obtained voter registration data in at least one state.”

The advisory from the FBI and CISA “A review of the records that were copied and obtained reveals the information was used in the propaganda video.”

Dareh Gregorian

8h ago / 9:55 PM UTC

Klobuchar rips Trump at Biden event

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, once a top contender to be Joe Biden’s running mate, spoke ahead of the former vice president at his event in St. Paul, Minnesota — and ripped President Trump for failing to take responsibility for the spread of the coronavirus. 

“He should have a sign on his desk that says the buck stops anywhere but here,” Klobuchar said. 

The Minnesota Democrat noted that for her, the pandemic has been personal — her husband and her father were both stricken with the virus. Both survived, but “so many Americans have not made it through,” she said, faulting the president for not speaking out about how deadly he knew the virus was at the end of January. 

The former presidential candidate urged attendees of the drive-in rally to vote for Biden. “We deserve leaders who are as resilient as our people,” she said. 

Biden gave her a shout-out after he started speaking, saying, “Amy, I love you. Thank you.” 

Jane C. Timm

8h ago / 10:06 PM UTC

How to report voting issues

NBC News is reporting on voting issues nationwide through a partnership with ProPublica’s Electionland. You can share your voting experience by texting the word VOTE, VOTA (for Spanish) or 投票 (for Chinese) to 81380 (standard text message rates apply). 

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