President Donald Trump announced Tuesday evening that he has fired top security official Christopher Krebs, whose agency declared the presidential election was ‘the most secure in US history’.
Trump slammed Krebs, who heads the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), for his ‘highly inaccurate’ statement arguing, ‘there were mass improprieties and fraud.’
Krebs oversaw the election’s security effort to fight against foreign interference and fraud. He was also behind a ‘Rumor Control’ website debunking election misinformation claims.
‘The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate,’ Trump tweeted. Twitter flagged the tweets with a warning saying the claims about election fraud are disputed.
‘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,’ he said.
‘Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency,’ he added.
Less than an hour after Trump’s tweet, Krebs tweeted from his personal Twitter account: ‘Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow. #Protect2020.’
The news comes as no surprise as officials had anticipated a purge at the Pentagon following the election result. Krebs had told associates last week that he expected to be fired by the White House, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
President Donald Trump announced Tuesday evening that he has fired top US security official Christopher Krebs (above). Krebs heads the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency
Trump slammed Krebs for claiming the election was secure, arguing ‘there were mass improprieties and fraud’
Less than an hour after Trump’s tweet, Krebs tweeted from his personal Twitter account: ‘Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow. #Protect2020.’
Trump added in his Tuesday night rant: ‘The only thing secure about our 2020 Election was that it was virtually impenetrable by foreign powers. On that, the Trump Administration takes great credit. Unfortunately, the Radical Left Democrats, Dominion, and others, were perhaps more successful!’
Kreb’s agency had issued a statement on Thursday declaring the presidential election was fair in a direct rebuke to Trump and his claims that the race was riddled with fraud.
‘There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,’ the agency said, joined by a coalition of security groups.
‘All of the states with close results in the 2020 presidential race have paper records of each vote, allowing the ability to go back and count each ballot if necessary. This is an added benefit for security and resilience. This process allows for the identification and correction of any mistakes or errors.’
Following his abrupt removal a slew of politicians blasted Trump for the firing.
Democratic Rep Adam Schiff said in a statement: ‘Throughout this election, the CISA and Director Krebs have worked diligently to safeguard our election.’
‘…Instead of rewarding this great service, President Trump is retaliating against Director Krebs and other officials who did their duty. It’s pathetic, but sadly predictable that upholding and protecting our democratic processes would be case for firing.’
Democratic Rep Adam Schiff said in a statement: ‘Instead of rewarding this great service, President Trump is retaliating against Director Krebs and other officials who did their duty. It’s pathetic, but sadly predictable that upholding and protecting our democratic processes would be case for firing’
Rep. Bennie G Thompson and Rep. Lauren Underwood, who are the chairs of the House’s Homeland Security Committee released a statement saying: ‘The president’s decision to fire Director Krebs makes America less safe’
Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said: ‘Chris Krebs is an extraordinary public servant and exactly the person Americans want protecting the security of our elections. It speaks volumes that the president chose to fire him simply for telling the truth’
Former Republican Homeland Security Advisor Thomas P. Bossert said: ‘Chris Krebs made America safer and our election system more secure. Thank you for your service, Chris. Well done.’
Democratic Virginia Sen. Mark Warner said: ‘Chris Krebs is an extraordinary public servant and exactly the person Americans want protecting the security of our elections. It speaks volumes that the president chose to fire him simply for telling the truth.’
Republican North Carolina Senator Richard Burr said: ‘Chris Krebs is a dedicated public servant who has done a remarkable job during a challenging time. Chris and his team at CISA have worked diligently to strengthen our election infrastructure, helping to shore up vulnerabilities and build trust between State and Federal Governments.’
‘I’m grateful for all Chris has done and I wish him the best in his next chapter.’
GOP Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska similarly applauded Krebs saying: ‘He obviously should not be fired.’
Rep. Bennie G Thompson and Rep. Lauren Underwood, who are the chairs of the House’s Homeland Security Committee released a statement saying: ‘The president’s decision to fire Director Krebs makes America less safe.’
The moves come on a week when Trump forced out Defense Secretary Mark Esper
While Krebs drew widespread bipartisan praise for his handling of the election, he drew the ire of the Trump White House over a website run by CISA dubbed ‘Rumor Control’, which debunks misinformation about the election, according to the three people familiar with the matter.
Krebs is just the latest Trump administration official to get the boot on the heels of the election.
Last week Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper in a tweet and replaced him with Christopher Miller, the director of National Counterrorism Center.
Separately, Bryan Ware, assistant director for cybersecurity at CISA, confirmed to Reuters that he had handed in his resignation on Thursday last week.
Ware told colleagues he is leaving ‘with much sadness…it’s too soon.’
After Esper’s removal a Trump administration official told CNBC’s Eamon Javers, ‘I assume FBI and CIA are next,’ in reference to FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel.
Krebs has been overseeing the ‘rumor control’ website, which has been debunking conspiracy theories
One post noted that ‘undervotes’ – like ballots with only a vote for president selected – are not uncommon
The Rumor Control site was designed to take on any foreign misinformation – but ended up contradicting unsubstantiated claims being put forward by the president as he sought to wipe away Biden’s lead in battleground states.
Some of Krebs’ tweets reveal why he may have been in hot water with the president’s team.
On Wednesday, he retweeted a writer and academic who wrote: ‘To my knowledge (and this is my field of expertise), no serious evidence has yet been found or presented that suggests that the 2020 election outcome in any state has been altered through technical exploitation. Period.’
He retweeted the Wisconsin Election Commission’s post ‘Correcting Misinformation about Wisconsin’s Election,’ as the president claims without evidence there has been fraud in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and other states he lost. Trump has also attacked the count in Georgia, where he is behind.
President Trump forwarded a ‘disputed’ claim about election fraud by retweeting a conspiracy theory about voting machines deleting 2.7 million Trump votes
A ‘rumor control update,’ posted between blaring siren updates, talks about ‘robust safety’ that ensures the accuracy of results.
‘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,’ Krebs wrote.
The site has also noted that ‘election integrity measures protect’ against dead people voting – a claim repeatedly put forward by Trump and his supporters.
Trump had appointed Krebs, a former policy director at Microsoft, to director of CISA in 2017 follow Russia’s 2016 election interference campaign.
One senior official at CISA said Krebs’ firing was ‘a sad day’ for the agency when he tried to refute misleading claims.
‘Chris didn’t compromise himself or this mission,’ the senior official said to NBC.
Trump has rejected the results of the US presidential election which declared Joe Biden the winner.
He as well as other top officials including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have publicly insisted the election is not over.