On Tuesday, President Donald Trump fired the director of the Federal Bureau of Statistics, who agreed on the reliability of the 2020 election.
Trump fired Christopher Krebs in a tweet, saying his recent statement defending the security of the election was “very wrong.”
While it was sudden, the dismissal was hardly surprising.
Krebs, the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, had offered a stream of statements and tweets over the past week confirming the integrity of the election, directly contradicting Trump’s false allegations of widespread fraud without naming the president.
The firing of Krebs, a Trump nominee, comes as Trump refuses to acknowledge Democratic President Joe Biden’s victory and remove senior officials who are seen as insufficiently loyal.
He fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Nov. 9, part of a broader shake-up that put Trump loyalists in leading Pentagon positions.
A former Microsoft chief Krebs steered the agency, known as CISA, from its creation in the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 election to the November election.
He won praise for two parties when CISA coordinated the federal state and local efforts to defend electoral systems from foreign or domestic interference.
Krebs has repeatedly pushed back against false claims that the election was dirty. Earlier on Tuesday, he tweeted a report citing 59 election security experts who say there is no credible evidence of computer fraud in the 2020 election results.
Trump fired on Twitter later in the day. He reiterated unwarranted allegations about the vote, writing “enters into force immediately, Chris Krebs has resigned as head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.”
Krebs, from his personal Twitter account, responded: “Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow. He concluded with the phrase “Protect 2020”, which had been his agency’s slogan before the election.
Officials at CISA and its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, had no immediate comment.
Rope. Adam Schiff, D-California, chairman of the House Intelligence Service, attacked Trump for “retaliating against Director Krebs and other officials who did their duty. It is pathetic, but unfortunately predictable, that maintaining and protecting our democratic processes would be the cause of firing.”
Krebs kept a low profile even when he expressed confidence before the vote in November and then dropped the accusations that the bill was bothered by fraud.
The rejection of Trump was remarkable from a section of DHS, which has been criticized for being too closely aligned with the president’s political goals.
CISA issued statements rejecting claims that a large number of dead people could vote or that anyone could change results without detection.
It also distributed a statement from a coalition of federal and state officials concluding that there was no evidence that votes were compromised or changed in the November 3 election and that the vote was the safest in American history.
Krebs avoided ever directly criticizing the president and tried to stay out of the political battle, even though he worked to oppose misinformation from the president and his supporters. “It is not our job to actually control the president,” he said at a briefing with journalists ahead of the election.
CISA works with government and local officials who run US elections as well as private companies that supply voice equipment to address cyber security and other threats while monitoring voting and tabulation from a control room at its headquarters near Washington.
It also works with industry and tools to protect the country’s industrial base and electricity grid from threats.
The agency has a good reputation among its core constituencies – the state and local election officials who rely on its councils and services in a time of almost constant cyberattack – as well as on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers recently proposed an increase in its annual budget of about $ 2 billion.
His removal is a “disturbing sign for the US government,” said California State Secretary Alex Padilla.
“Chris Krebs has been an accessible, reliable partner for election officials across the country and across party lines, as we have strengthened our cyber defense since 2016,” said Padilla. “Our infrastructure for elections has become stronger because of leaders like Chris Krebs and despite the actions and lies that come from the White House.”
Among the latest reports that Krebs feared he would be fired, Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the House Security Committee, had said he was worried and sent a text to the director to ask him if he was okay. The answer was, in fact, “for the time being,” the Mississippi Democrat said.
“It’s a shame if someone with his talent suddenly becomes mature,” Thompson said. “I have not seen a partisan leg in his body. He has been a perfect professional. ”
Rope. Jim Langevin, a Rhode Island Democrat who focuses on cybersecurity, had called on his Republican colleagues to stand up for him before he could be removed from office.
“Chris Krebs and CISA have done so well under his leadership because he and his team have kept their heads down and done the job they were assigned to do and not get stuck in party politics,” Langevin said.
The agency came from a rocky beginning. Shortly before President Barack Obama left office, the United States designated electoral systems as critical national security infrastructure, such as dams or power plants, as a result of Russia’s interference, which included the penetration of state electoral systems and massive misinformation.
Some state election officials and Republicans were suspected of federal encroachment on their grass and opposed the designation.
The National Association of Secretary of State adopted a resolution in opposition to the move in February 2017.
But the Trump administration supported the designation and in the end, skeptical government officials welcomed the support.