The Trump administration on Friday unveiled a new plan to notify the public of cyberattacks or other interference during the 2020 presidential election.
The new protocols are designed to provide consistency in the notification process for victims and the public after hacks from foreign governments. The plan, which President Trump approved, comes after the federal government has faced accusations of keeping the public in the dark by not releasing enough information about foreign attempts to hack campaigns and election systems. It also comes as officials brace for similar threats heading into 2020.
The framework, detailed in an overview released to reporters, lists considerations for the government when it decides if it should notify the public of an attack. Among the parameters included in the document are that partisan politics will not be considered when releasing a notification and that that the Secret Service will be made aware 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.”
“Notification decisions will consider whether providing notification will help deter foreign influence and protect the public, and will avoid amplifying foreign interference activity or re-victimizing the targets of such activity,” the document reads.
Under the plan, the director of national intelligence would meet with several other officials to decide if they would issue a notification to the public. When a member of the intelligence community seeks to expand a notification beyond what is required by law, representatives from the FBI, CIA and other agencies would be brought in to craft the notice.
“I’m pleased the Trump administration has finally recognized how important public notification is to the integrity and credibility of our elections and established a framework for when and how notification should occur,” Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.), who has demanded greater transparency after her state was targeted in 2016 election interference, said in a statement.