Mike Pence is also accepting the U.S. intelligence finding that Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. He confirmed the Democratic National Committee hacks at a government cybersecurity conference put on by the Department of Homeland Security.
While Trump led a meeting Friday to put measures in place to safeguard November midterm elections, no explicit instructions were issued at that time.
The meeting was reportedly less than a half hour according to anonymous sources. The Director of National Intelligence, DHS, the National Security Agency, FBI, and CIA leaders attended.
Per the Washington Post, the White House released a statement afterward that read, “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.”
President Trump was widely criticized following a summit in Helsinki with Russian leader Vladimir Putin where he appeared to back the country despite the U.S. intelligence agency findings.
It was Pence’s first address on cybersecurity, according to the Washington Post.
His speech came the same day that Facebook had put the lid on a complex cybersecurity threat aiming to sway the midterm elections in November through systematic messaging. Despite these findings, Facebook was not able to connect the new campaign to the DNC hacks and Kremlin plots of two years ago.
“Russia’s goal was to sow discord and division and weaken the American people’s faith in our democracy. And while no actual votes were changed, any attempt to interfere in our elections is an affront to our democracy, and it will not be allowed,” Pence said.
He added, “The United States of America will not tolerate any foreign interference in our elections from any nation-state – not from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea or anyone else. As President Trump said, ‘We’re not going to have it.'”
Kirstjen Nielson, who serves as the Homeland Security Secretary, backed the White House on its stance, calling the 2016 cybersecurity breach a “brazen” attempt to interfere with the presidential election.
She echoed the Trump administration, saying that the U.S. will not “tolerate” or “accept” these interferences and threatened foreign nations with a “high price” if they attempt to.
Pence assured the public that the FBI has set up a Foreign Influence Task Force to prevent these cybersecurity breaches and keep our democracy intact. All 50 states have also joined the Election Infrastructure Information Sharing and Analysis Center to head off any foreign interference in November.