News ID: 276988
Published: 0502 GMT November 18, 2020

Trump fires top US election cybersecurity official over defending vote

Trump fires top US election cybersecurity official over defending vote
JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS
US Department of Homeland Security Undersecretary Chris Krebs speaks to reporters at the DHS Election Operations Center and National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) in Arlington, Virginia, US, on November 6, 2018.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday fired top cybersecurity official Chris Krebs in a message on Twitter, accusing him without evidence of making a “highly inaccurate” statement affirming the November 3 election was secure and rejecting claims of fraud.

Trump has made debunked allegations that the election was rigged” and has refused to concede defeat to President-elect Joe Biden, Reuters reported.

His campaign has filed a flurry of lawsuits in battleground states, although election officials in both parties have said they see no evidence of serious irregularities.

Krebswork in protecting the election from hackers and combating disinformation about the vote won praise from lawmakers of both parties as well as state and election officials around the country. But he drew the ire of Trump and his allies, who were irked over his refusal to support allegations of election meddling.

Reuters reported last week that Krebs had told associates he expected to be fired.

Trump said on Twitter that Krebs had assured people in a highly inaccurate” statement that the election had been secure when there were massive improprieties and fraud — including dead people voting, Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations,” and voting machine errors that flipped votes from Trump to Biden.

Dozens of election security experts on Monday released a letter saying claims of major hacks were unsubstantiated and absurd on their face.

Twitter slapped warning labels on Trumps posts, noting: This claim about election fraud is disputed.”

Krebs headed the Department of Homeland Securitys Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) from its inception two years ago.

He angered the 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.

A CISA spokesperson said the agency had no comment.

Krebs was not given notice of Trumps plan to fire him, according to a person familiar with the matter, and learned of the decision through Twitter.

Matthew Travis, Krebsdeputy and the number two at the agency, resigned on Tuesday night.

The Reuters report last week prompted an outpouring of support from security experts across the country, who praised Krebs for his bipartisan work in the past two years.

White House displeasure with Krebs grew over the past year, according to two former officials, as Trump criticized the security of mail-in voting and Krebsagency countered by saying it represented a secure way to vote. Mail-in balloting reached a record high this year because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

 

We did it right

 

On his own Twitter account, Krebs did not back down, writing: Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow.”

White House officials had previously complained about CISA content that pushed back against false claims about the election, including that Democrats were behind a mass election fraud scheme. CISA officials declined to delete accurate information.

Among other things, one associate of Krebs said the White House was angry about a post rejecting a conspiracy theory that falsely claimed an intelligence agency supercomputer and program, purportedly named Hammer and Scorecard, could have flipped votes nationally. No such system exists, according to Krebs, election security experts and former US officials.

A spokesman for President-elect Joe Biden said, Chris Krebs should be commended for his service in protecting our elections, not fired for telling the truth.”

 

 

   
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Resource: Reuters
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