White House to host private briefing on N.Korea

Washington, Apr 25 (IANS): The White House has announced that it would host an unusual private briefing on North Korea for the entire Senate amid escalating tensions, a media report said.

Press secretary Sean Spicer told the media on Monday that the lawmakers would be briefed on Wednesday by several senior administration officials, including Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, The Washington Post reported.

He emphasised that the meeting plan had been convened by Senate leadership and that the White House was serving "as the location".

A senior administration official said the meeting with senators will take place in the auditorium at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the building next to the White House that houses most of the National Security Council.

The auditorium will be temporarily turned into a "sensitive compartmented information facility", which is the term for a room where sensitive national security information can be shared, the official said.

Such facilities are configured to withstand eavesdropping or other technical snooping.

David Popp, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, said: "The President (Donald Trump) offered to host the meeting and the Majority Leader agreed."

Other Senate leadership staffers signalled that most, if not all, senators in both parties are expected to attend the White House briefing, The Washington Post reported.

However, the unusual location left many staffers confused.

During debates surrounding Syria's civil war, terrorist attacks in Europe and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's into Russian interference in US elections, Cabinet secretaries and senior law enforcement officials have travelled to Capitol Hill to brief lawmakers.

A senior aide, said it was President Trump's idea to hold the meeting at the White House.

"I heard this came from Trump himself, that in a nutshell he said, ‘Why don't we have them up here instead?'" he added.


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