NEW YORK, Nov 18 (APP): The outgoing US President, Donald Trump, has dismissed the director of the federal agency that vouched for the reliability of the 2020 election and pushed back on the president’s baseless claims of voter fraud.
Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday night he was firing Chris Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and directly tied it to Krebs’ statement that said there “is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
“The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud,” Trump said in a tweet that also repeated other baseless conspiracy theories about the election and was flagged by Twitter as “disputed.”
“Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”
The firing of Krebs, a Trump appointee, comes as Trump is refusing to recognize the victory of the president-elect, Joe Biden, and removing high-level officials seen as insufficiently loyal. He fired Mark Esper, the defence secretary, on November 9 part of a broader shake-up that put Trump loyalists in senior positions at Pentagon.
Krebs had indicated he expected to be fired. Last week, his agency released a statement refuting claims of widespread voter fraud. “The November 3rd election was the most secure in American history,” the statement read. “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”
Krebs, a former Microsoft executive, ran CISA from its creation in the wake of Russian interference with the 2016 election through the November election. He won bipartisan praise as the agency coordinated federal state and local efforts to defend electoral systems from foreign or domestic interference.
Trump mentioned the CISA statement in his tweet firing Krebs. The president’s tweets also repeated many of the baseless election fraud claims he has made in recent weeks.
Several top Democrats were swift to condemn the president’s decision to fire Krebs.
On CNN, Senator Chris Coons said, “Chris Krebs’ federal service is just the latest casualty in President Trump’s four-year-long war on the truth.”
Senator Angus King, who is among the candidates who may be appointed Director of National Intelligence in the upcoming Biden administration, called Krebs “a dedicated public servant who has helped build up new cyber capabilities in the face of swiftly-evolving dangers
“By firing him for doing his job, President Trump is harming all Americans.”
Adam Schiff, the Democratic congressman who chairs the House intelligence committee, said that Trump’s move is “ pathetic and predictable from a president who views truth as his enemy”.
And Mark Warner, a Democratic senator of Virginia and co-chair of the Senate cybersecurity caucus, said 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,” he said.
Ben Sasse, a Republican senator, also chimed in. “Chris Krebs did a really good job,” he said. “He obviously should not be fired.”
Two other Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials – Bryan Ware, CISA’s assistant director of international affairs, and Valerie Boyd, DHS assistant secretary of international affairs – were also reportedly forced out last week.
Krebs tweeted from his personal account that he was “honoured to serve”.