President Donald Trump has fired Chris Krebs, a senior US official who was head of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
Trump announced Krebs’ firing in a series of tweets, singling out a recent statement he made about election security.
“The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud – including dead people voting, Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations, ‘glitches’ in the voting machines which changed votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more,” Trump tweeted. “Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”
Just a few hours before he was fired, Krebs took to Twitter to rebut Trump and other Republicans’ claims that election infrastructure was tampered with.
“ICYMI: On allegations that election systems were manipulated, 59 election security experts all agree, ‘in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent,’” Krebs tweeted.
Last week, CISA announced that there was “no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” contradicting Trump’s false and unsubstantiated claims about election fraud.
Indeed, as Business Insider previously reported, the 2020 election was among the safest and most secure because of the use of paper ballots and voting machines with verifiable paper trails.
Paul Nakasone, the director of the National Security Agency, also said that was less foreign election interference this year compared to 2018, and the Washington Post reported on Tuesday that US Cyber Command took a number of steps to deter malicious actors, like Russian military hackers, from being able to meddle in the election.
CISA was created in 2018, and as its leader, Krebs was instrumental in protecting US elections from outside interference, whether it was domestic or foreign, and he enjoyed broad bipartisan support. That said, his firing wasn’t entirely unexpected; Reuters reported earlier this month that Krebs had told multiple people he anticipated being fired by the White House.
In the days and weeks before his firing, Krebs spearheaded the DHS’s robust effort to combat many of Trump’s election-related conspiracies involving voter fraud, election fraud, and voting by mail.
Krebs managed the DHS’s “Rumor Control” website which defended the federal government’s efforts to protect the integrity of the election and struck down misinformation about canvassing and auditing, voter registration, ballot-counting measures, and the overall electoral process.
He also used his personal Twitter account, with the handle @CISAKrebs, to frequently post “Rumor Control Updates” and retweet news reports debunking misinformation and conspiracy theories from Trumpworld alleging that the election was “rigged” against the president.
Rumor Control Update New content in our “results accuracy” entry that expands on the controls elex officials use before, during, and after an election to ensure election-related software/hardware aren’t single points of failure. https://t.co/ePI3KBH87C #Protect2020 pic.twitter.com/ogZLUkqxMs
— Chris Krebs #Protect2020 (@CISAKrebs) November 12, 2020
Same as yesterday, Hammer and Scorecard is still a hoax. Thats it. That’s the tweet. https://t.co/jIwZlt3uDw
— Chris Krebs #Protect2020 (@CISAKrebs) November 9, 2020
Thanks @altonbrown! What American really wants to know is how you feel about Hawaiian pizza. Democracy hangs in the balance. ##waronpineapple https://t.co/uXYOisiVPj https://t.co/yKRGmmY8hn pic.twitter.com/PvFP2F4gZB
— Chris Krebs #Protect2020 (@CISAKrebs) November 11, 2020
Your daily https://t.co/uXYOisiVPj reminder! We posted a new entry y’day on why undervotes happen (& aren’t unusual). More content in the pipeline!
And don’t forget: (1)Hammer/Scorecard is still nonsense, &(2) DHS IS NOT carrying out a fraud sting op using watermarked ballots. pic.twitter.com/pNALfql3wO
— Chris Krebs #Protect2020 (@CISAKrebs) November 10, 2020
In the weeks before the election, Krebs participated in a video with other top US law enforcement and national security officials to reassure Americans of the integrity of the election and remind them that it was safe to vote by mail, in defiance of Trump’s efforts to thwart the process.
“I’m here to tell you that my confidence in the security of your vote has never been higher,” Krebs said in the video. “That’s because of an all-of-nation unprecedented election-security effort over the last several years.”
“Elections are going to look a little different this year,” he said. “While this will change the way Americans vote, Americans will vote. And Americans will decide American elections. And you, as the American voter, are the last line of defense.”
Krebs also said voters should “be patient because of the changes due to COVID, on November 3, we might not know the outcome of our election.”
“And that’s OK, but we’re going to need your patience until official results are announced,” he added. “So get out there and vote with confidence, and be a part of protecting 2020.”
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