President Trump fired the top cybersecurity official who oversaw the security of this year’s elections and had refused in recent days to confirm the president’s allegations of widespread election-related fraud.
“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. Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency,” Trump wrote in a pairs of tweets Tuesday evening.
…votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more. Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2020
The termination comes just after senior administration officials denied a report that Trump directed acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to fire Krebs. Three additional senior administration officials with firsthand knowledge of DHS and White House operations said Wolf did not refuse or receive instruction from Trump to remove Krebs. Two officials said that a Cabinet officer cannot fire a presidentially appointed, Senate-confirmed official. Only Trump himself has that authority.
In the two weeks since Election Day, the Trump campaign has sued several states for alleged irregularities that the president has described as a Democratic effort to “steal” the election. The campaign and White House have not proved these claims.
Yet, in the days following the election, CISA launched a “Rumor Control” page that denounced “disinformation” that includes White House messaging. Krebs has been outspoken on Twitter, retweeting an election organization director’s message from the public not to share “baseless claims about voting machines, even if they’re made by the president.”
Whatever the president’s views, this did not endear Krebs to some Trump administration officials.
“If Krebs cared as much about securing free and fair elections as he does about maintaining salon quality hair, his job wouldn’t be in jeopardy,” an official wrote in a text.
Krebs, a former top official at Microsoft, joined the Trump administration as senior counselor to the DHS secretary in March 2017. He then was nominated and later confirmed as undersecretary for national protection and programs at the DHS. That office was replaced by the CISA, and Krebs was made its director of operations, assisting 8,000 election systems nationwide to secure the 2020 vote.
Reuters reported that Krebs told his colleagues that he expected to be fired by the end of last week following CISA dubbing the 2020 election “the most secure in American history,” appearing to contradict the president’s claims. A second official said CISA has deemed the election “mission accomplished” and has not gone through any of the campaign’s court filings to determine if any wrongdoing occurred.
“They’re not interested in vetting any of these concerns,” said the second official. “It’s clearly a credibility salvaging tour.”
The three officials who spoke anonymously said they believed there was a similar motivation behind the recent stories reporting Krebs is on the chopping block.
“Krebs is deeply aligned with the band of former DHS officials who have been outed as Never Trumpers, including Gen. Kelly, Kirstjen Nielsen, Elizabeth Neumann, Miles Taylor, Brian Ware, and other attention-seekers who waged a silent coup during the better half of the president’s first term,” the first official said, adding that “the time it’s taken to rid the department of such individuals shows the extent to which the president was poorly served by those who entrusted these people with such influential positions.”
Wolf has not commented on the election on his Twitter account since it took place. Krebs’s assistant director for cybersecurity at CISA, Ware, resigned last Thursday. Krebs did not respond to a request for comment.
Krebs’s second in command, Matt Travis, said he was also forced out, according to the Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima on Tuesday.
Chris Krebs' deputy, Matt Travis, has also been forced out. DHS Acting Secty pushed back, but WH was firm in forcing Travis' resignation, Travis told me. Next in line of succession is Brandon Wales, who is career SES.
— Ellen Nakashima (@nakashimae) November 18, 2020
Author: Anna Giaritelli
Source: Washington Examiner: Trump fires top US cyberofficial who refused to back election claims of fraud