President Trump on Tuesday announced on Twitter that he had terminated Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency director Christopher Krebs who had worked to combat misinformation about voter fraud and election security in the 2020 election.
“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 wrote, an apparent reference to a joint statement released Thursday from CISA and other election officials saying there was “no evidence” that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.
…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
“Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency,” Trump added.
According to NBC News, Krebs found out about the firing via Twitter, though several sources told the outlet it had been expected and was a matter of “when, not if” he would be fired after the director had drawn the ire of the president on more than one occasion over his defense of mail-in ballots and CISA’s Rumor Control blog. The blog works to address false claims about election fraud and hacking, a number of which Trump has claimed led to the election being “rigged” in President-elect Joe Biden’s favor.
Krebs said in a tweet shortly after the announcement that he was “honored to serve.”
“We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow [sic],” wrote Krebs, a former policy director at Microsoft whom Trump appointed to his role in 2017 after Russia’s 2016 election Interference campaign.
Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow. #Protect2020
— Chris Krebs (@C_C_Krebs) November 18, 2020
A former Department of Homeland Security official told NBC News Krebs’ firing is “an opportunity for bad cyber actors to take advantage.” Aside from election cybersecurity, the agency offers security assistance to a number of industries including manufacturing and the energy grid.
Representative Jim Langevin (D.,R.I.), who serves on the Homeland Security Committee and is a member of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission defended Krebs to NBC News as “a public servant of impeccable integrity.”
“The President’s inability to accept the election results and his lashing out at those willing to speak the truth about his lies has gone from petulant to downright dangerous,” Langevin said.
Michael Gwin, a spokesperson for Biden’s campaign said Krebs “should be commended for his service in protecting our elections, not fired for telling the truth.”
“Bipartisan election officials in the administration itself — and around the country — have made clear that Donald Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud are categorically false and Trump’s embarrassing refusal to accept that reality lays bare how baseless and desperate his flailing is,” Gwin added.