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Pence stands by intel community in call to increase election cybersecurity

Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

Vice President Pence's remarks at a Department of Homeland Security cybersecurity conference in New York contained a throated call to better defend elections and American democracy.

Why it matters: His comments included an unambiguous acceptance of the intelligence community's assessment that Russia tampered with the 2016 election — something President Trump has wavered on — as well as praise for state and federal efforts thus far to protect elections. But he noted there was room for improvement.

One key quote: "It concerns us some states still don't have plans to update their voting systems," Pence said, noting that many states still have at least some voting machines that do not keep a harder-to-hack paper trail.

  • "You owe your constituents that and the American people expect nothing less," he later added.

Pence blamed a cybersecurity crisis on previous administrations — particularly the Obama administration — despite mentioning a wide array of threats that took place under his watch, including the North Korean Wannacry and Russian NotPetya attacks.

Pence also announced the administration was "putting the finishing touches on a national cyber strategy" that would deploy all resources to meet an attack.

  • He later backed a longstanding Homeland Security request to rename the vaguely titled National Protection and Programs Directorate, to the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.