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US has new plan for notifying Americans of election meddling

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Friday released a new framework for notifying victims and the public of cyberattacks during the 2020 presidential election.

The procedures are designed to ensure consistency in how victims and the public are notified of election interference by foreign governments. The framework, which was approved by President Donald Trump, comes as the federal government has faced criticism for the lack of information it has made public about efforts by foreign hackers to penetrate campaigns and election systems. It also comes as the government prepares for foreign interference in next year’s election similar to the hacking and foreign influence campaigns of the 2016 race.

A senior intelligence official said the framework implements a co-ordinated process for making notifications and expands when such notifications can and should be made.

The framework, detailed in a one-page overview and described by officials to reporters, lists considerations for the government in making the notifications. It says partisan politics will not factor into any decision to make notifications of attacks.

Officials say the Secret Service will be notified anytime a major presidential campaign is targeted. Decisions about whether to provide notification “will take into account the need to protect sensitive sources and methods necessary to protect national security and to avoid interfering in investigations.”

The document also says that in cases when a broad public notification is being considered, the director of national intelligence will consult with a group of officials to decide whether it should be made.

Eric Tucker, The Associated Press