President TrumpDonald John TrumpTucker Carlson assures viewers his show ‘not going anywhere’ following presidential election Trump senior advisers dissuaded president from military strike on Iran: report Senators clash on the floor over wearing masks: ‘I don’t need your instruction’ MORE ousted Christopher Krebs, the top U.S. cybersecurity official, on Tuesday evening, disagreeing with Krebs’s statement affirming the security of the 2020 election.
Trump, who has refused to accept his loss to Joe BidenJoe BidenTucker Carlson assures viewers his show ‘not going anywhere’ following presidential election Trump senior advisers dissuaded president from military strike on Iran: report Senators clash on the floor over wearing masks: ‘I don’t need your instruction’ MORE in the presidential election earlier this month, said on Twitter that Krebs had been terminated “effective immediately.” Trump said a recent statement by the cyber chief about the security of the election was “highly inaccurate” and claimed, without evidence, 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,” the president wrote. “Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”
Krebs, a Trump appointee, had served as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) since CISA’s establishment in 2018. Krebs previously helmed CISA’s predecessor agency, the National Protection and Programs Directorate.
The Hill and other news outlets reported last week that Krebs expected to be fired by the White House after attracting attention for his efforts to debunk conspiracies about voter fraud and the security of the election.
CISA put out a statement last Thursday from stakeholders and officials that affirmed that the 2020 election was “the most secure in American history” and dispelled assertions that voting systems were in some way compromised, representing an implicit rebuke of assertions by the president and some of his supporters.
“There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised,” the officials emphasized.
A post from what appeared to be Krebs’s personal Twitter account on Tuesday night noted that he was “honored to serve,” adding, “We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow.”
Krebs has served at DHS since 2017. Prior to his time in federal government, he served as the director of cybersecurity policy on Microsoft’s government affairs team. He has focused on issues including shoring up election security and protecting critical infrastructure from attack, among other cyber initiatives.
Krebs’s removal will leave a tremendous void atop the federal agency that has served as a leading driver in the effort to secure U.S. elections and other cybersecurity priorities. He earned bipartisan acclaim during his time serving in the Trump administration and has been a trusted voice among security officials.
Democrats pushed back hard against the decision to fire Krebs.
Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerIt’s time for Congress to act: Save jobs and stabilize the aerospace industry Democratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry Warner blames Democratic losses on ‘defund the police’ MORE (D-Va.) tweeted that “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.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDevin Nunes fends off Democratic opponent in California Trump begins Election Day with confident predictions on Fox News The Memo: Tense and fractured nation braces for Election Day MORE (D-Calif.) called it “pathetic.”
“Throughout this election, the CISA and Director Krebs have worked diligently to safeguard our elections, provide vital support to state and local election officials, and inform the American people about what was true and what was not. In the best tradition of government service, they spoke truth to power and helped keep Americans and our institutions safe,” 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,” he added. “It’s pathetic, but sadly predictable that upholding and protecting our democratic processes would be cause for firing.
Sen. Angus KingAngus KingBiden considering King for director of national intelligence: report Hillicon Valley: Microsoft warns Russian, North Korean hackers targeting groups researching COVID-19 vaccines | Parler’s post-election popularity sparks misinformation concerns | Administration grants 15-day extension on TikTok divestiture deadline Hillicon Valley: Four major tech issues facing the Biden administration | Pressure grows to reinstate White House cyber czar | Facebook, Google to extend political ad bans MORE (I-Maine), who caucuses with Senate Democrats and serves as co-chairman of the congressionally established Cyberspace Solarium Commission, strongly condemned Krebs’s firing. King is a potential candidate to serve as director of national intelligence under Biden.
“By firing Mr. Krebs for simply doing his job, President Trump is inflicting severe damage on all Americans – who rely on CISA’s defenses, even if they don’t know it,” King said in a statement. “If there’s any silver lining in this unjust decision, it’s this: I hope that President-elect Biden will recognize Chris’s contributions, and consult with him as the Biden administration charts the future of this critically important agency.”
Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDemocratic senators urge Facebook to take action on anti-Muslim bigotry The Hill’s Campaign Report: GOP senators say Biden deserves intel briefings l Biden speaks with Democratic leaders about COVID l Where the Georgia runoffs stand Senate majority battle snags Biden Cabinet hopefuls MORE (D-Minn.), ranking member of the Senate Rules Committee with jurisdiction over elections, said in a statement that “President Trump’s firing of Christopher Krebs is a gut punch to our democracy. Director Krebs has been praised by both Republicans and Democrats at the state and national level for protecting our nation’s critical infrastructure, including our election systems.”
Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseProfiles in cowardice: Trump’s Senate enablers We need a (common) ‘sense of the Senate’ resolution on transition planning Microsoft warns Russian, North Korean hackers targeting groups researching COVID-19 vaccines MORE (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was one of the first Republicans to publicly condemn Krebs being fired.
“Chris Krebs did a really good job — as state election officials all across the nation will tell you — and he obviously should not be fired. I’m particularly grateful for the work he did on the Cyber Solarium Commission to help the nation prepare for the future of war,” Sasse said in a statement.
Former Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrRick Scott running to chair Senate GOP campaign arm As Trump downplayed the virus publicly, memo based on private briefings sparked stock sell-offs: NYT Hillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns MORE (R-N.C.), who worked with Krebs before stepping down from leading the panel, praised Krebs for his efforts but stopped short of criticizing Trump for firing him.
“Chris Krebs is a dedicated public servant who has done a remarkable job during a challenging time,” Burr said in a statement. “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. The creative and innovative campaign CISA developed to promote cybersecurity should serve as a model for other government agencies. Their efforts were essential in protecting the 2020 U.S. presidential election against threats of foreign interference. I’m grateful for all Chris has done and I wish him the best in his next chapter.”
Krebs’s departure adds to a growing list of Trump administration officials who have been fired or stepped down in the wake of the general election, with Trump firing Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperTrump senior advisers dissuaded president from military strike on Iran: report Overnight Defense: Pentagon prepping for Trump order to draw down in Afghanistan, Iraq | Questions swirl after DOD purge | 10th service member killed by COVID-19 McConnell warns Trump against troop drawdown in Afghanistan MORE and eying letting go CIA Director Gina HaspelGina Cheri HaspelHeads roll as Trump launches post-election purge Haspel not in attendance at latest Trump intelligence briefing: reports Director of DHS cyber agency expecting ouster MORE and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Trump has claimed without evidence that there was widespread voter fraud in the election and has refused to concede to Biden. Major news outlets projected Biden as the winner on Nov. 7.
Trump has through his Twitter account endorsed a baseless theory that Dominion Voting System, a voting software company used in several states, switched votes from him to Biden. Krebs has publicly pushed back on theories that votes were manipulated.
“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.’ #Protect2020,” Krebs tweeted earlier Tuesday.
Updated: 8:52 p.m.