President Trump fired Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Christopher Krebs via his Twitter account on Tuesday evening.
Reports of a possible move by the White House to get rid of Krebs had swirled since late last week when election security leaders including Bob Kolasky, head of CISA’s National Risk Management Center, released a statement pronouncing the November 3 election as “the most secure in American history,” and saying they found no evidence of voting system compromises or changed votes.
CISA’s endorsement of a secure election process got Krebs fired, said the President, whose legal team is challenging the propriety of election processes in several states.
“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 deal 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,” the President said.
“Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency,” the President said.
The group of election leaders including CISA’s Kolasky said on Nov. 13 that there “is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
“While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too,” the election security leaders said. They added, “when you have questions, turn to elections officials as trusted voices as they administer elections.”
That statement was issued by the members of the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council Executive Committee, and members of the Election Infrastructure Sector Coordinating Council. The first group includes CISA’s Kolasky, U.S Election Assistance Commission Chair Benjamin Hovland, National Association of Secretaries of State President Maggie Toulouse Oliver, and National Association of State Election Directors President Lori Augino.
“The President’s decision to fire Director Krebs makes America less safe,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., chairwoman of the Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation Subcommittee, shortly after news broke of the firing.
“The President’s unsubstantiated tweets this evening do nothing to defend our state and local governments and critical infrastructure against malicious cyber campaigns from Russia, China, and Iran,” the members of Congress said, adding, “And they do nothing to improve the security of our elections.”
“The fact is that, since Election Day, President Trump has sought to de-legitimize the election results by engaging in a disinformation campaign that could shatter public confidence in our elections for generations,” they said. “Director Krebs put national security ahead of politics and refused to use his position to do the President’s bidding, so the President fired him. We commend Chris Krebs for refusing to cave to political pressure from the White House and instead choosing to uphold his obligations to the American people as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”
“In firing Director Krebs for refusing to lend credibility to his baseless claims and conspiracy theories about voter fraud, the President is telling officials throughout the Administration to put his political interests ahead of their responsibilities to the American people. That is not only disturbing, it is antidemocratic,” the members of Congress said.