16:23 GMT +321 November 2019
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    Trump, National Security Council Discuss Protecting Elections From Hackers

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    US President Donald Trump and the National Security Council (NSC) are discussing means of safeguarding local elections from hacks by foreign actors, the White House said Friday.

    "The President's discussion with his NSC addressed threats posed to our elections from malign foreign actors, efforts underway to provide cybersecurity assistance to State and local authorities, and actions to investigate, prosecute and hold accountable those who illegally attempt to interfere in our political and electoral processes," a White House statement reads. 

    Trump's meeting with the NSC began around 3:00pm Eastern Time in the White House Situation Room. The discussions concerned efforts in "all 50 States, Territories, and the District of Columbia."

    The White House said it is taking a "whole-of-government approach" to tackling the issue. The remark was underscored by the who's-who of prominent White House personalities, military and intelligence community (IC) leaders that sat in on the discussion: Vice President Mike Pence, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, National Security Advisor John Bolton, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and more.

    "The President has made it clear that his Administration will not tolerate foreign interference in our elections from any nation state or other malicious actors," the White House said.'

    The meeting of big names of the military and IC comes one day after news broke that Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) was the target of a spearfishing campaign ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The perpetrator? The usual suspects of course: Russia's Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) was alleged to be behind the effort by the news organization The Daily Beast, which claimed to have conducted a forensic analysis. The allegation remains unconfirmed by any US law enforcement officials.

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