Christopher Krebs, head of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), represented the most senior cyber security official in government. Prior to signing on with the Department of Homeland Security, which operates CISA, Krebs served as a Microsoft executive, leading US policy and security initiatives. In working with CISA, he oversaw a broad range of cyber security efforts, including those designed to secure the 2020 US election. When election day came to pass, security proceeded so seamlessly that he reported “It’s just another Tuesday on the internet.”
Post-election, Krebs systematically disputed Trump’s pronouncements that the election was rigged through fraudulent ballots and software stumbles. Krebs’ agency stated that “the November 3rd election was the most secure in American history”.
On the evening of Tuesday, November 17th, a Twitter post from Trump called Krebs’ election assessment “highly inaccurate” and included declarations of rampant election security issues, which ostensibly resulted in his loss of a second term as president. Trump then proceeded to dismiss Chris Krebs from his agency position via Twitter.
Image courtesy of Krebs on Security.
The firing prompted backlash from the national security community and among elected representatives.
Senator Angus King, an Independent from Maine and co-chair of a committee to improve America’s cyber security posture, responded by stating that Krebs is “an incredibly bright, high-performing and dedicated public servant…” and that “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.”
Former homeland security secretary under President George W. Bush, Michael Chertoff, stated “He’s done everything you would want a senior official at D.H.S to do. As far as I’m concerned, this firing is a badge of honor for Chris Krebs.”
Krebs did not respond to press requests for comments on Tuesday evening, but he tweeted “Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow. #Protect2020.”