The State Department claimed responsibility for a barrage of text messages that were sent to phones in Iran and Russia and offered up to $10 million for information on foreign hackers seeking to interfere in the 2020 election.
An agency spokesperson said the mysterious text messages sent this week were blasted out as part of a “worldwide campaign” conducted in multiple languages with less than 100 days until Election Day.
“The U.S. Department of State’s Rewards for Justice (RFJ) program is advertising a reward offer through SMS messages and a variety of other communications tools and techniques. Our SMS messages refer back to the verified official Rewards for Justice social media accounts, which are available in multiple languages,” the spokesperson told the Washington Examiner.
The text messages were received by an unknown number of people in both countries in a move reminiscent of the U.S. efforts to broadcast pro-democracy messages across the Iron Curtain into the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The effort, and the $10 million reward, is being promoted in a campaign designed to stop election meddling similar to what took place during the 2016 presidential election. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia was responsible for interfering in that election.