In two messages on the social network Twitter on Tuesday night, the president, Donald Trump, fired the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA, for its acronym in English), Chris Krebs, who had said that his false accusations of alleged “electoral fraud” were not true.
When firing him, the president repeated these unsubstantiated statements, which have been denied by his own officials at the Department of Homeland Security, about an alleged massive “fraud” against him in the presidential elections that snatched his re-election and gave the victory to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
“Chris Krebs’ recent statement on the security of the 2020 elections was very inaccurate, as there were massive fraud and failures, including dead people who voted, election observers who were not allowed in the polling places, ‘failures’ in the voting machines that changed … votes from Trump to Biden, people who voted late and many more. Therefore, with immediate effect, Chris Krebs has been fired as Director of the Infrastructure Security and Cybersecurity Agency. “
Last week, the Krebs-led agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, organizations that represent secretaries of state and other top election officials across the country said in a joint statement that there was no evidence that voting systems had been tampered with during the presidential election, contradicting Trump’s claims, without naming him directly.
Krebs tweeted in response minutes after Trump:
“Honored to serve. We did well. Defend today, secure tomorrow. # Protect2020.”
Krebbs’ number two, Matthew Travis, resigned from his post shortly thereafter, a source with knowledge of the facts told NBC News, Telemundo’s sister network.
As the Politico medium reported last week, although the president can dismiss the deputy director of CISA, he cannot do the same with the official who is third in the line of succession, the executive director, since it is “a position for an official that Krebs himself created specifically for moments like these. “
The position that the director of CISA had to leave until now should therefore be filled by Brandon Wales.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Krebs learned he was fired for the public message on Twitter.
Krebs’ latest tweet before he was fired, dating from Tuesday morning, read: “On allegations of manipulation of electoral systems, 59 experts in electoral security agree, ‘in all the cases that we know of, these claims have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.’ # Protect2020
Krebs was appointed to his position by Trump himself, and is considered a figure above politics, respected by both Democrats and Republicans. He had been very active in rejecting the misinformation about the election results that Trump and the Republicans have spread, who have not recognized Biden’s victory.
Trump has yet to concede defeat, more than a week after the result was official.
Soon reactions to the firing from congressmen began to be heard, mostly Democrats outraged by what they call an “abuse of power.”
California Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in a press release that “CISA and Director Krebs have worked diligently to safeguard our elections, provide vital support to state and local election officials. and inform the American people of what was true and what was not. “
“Instead of rewarding this great service, President Trump is retaliating against Director Krebs and other officials who did their duty. It is pathetic, but sadly predictable that defending and protecting our democratic processes is grounds for termination,” he added.
Schiff said he thanks Krebs and the agency he ran. “for fighting disinformation, even when the president and his allies spread it.”
This is in addition to a series of layoffs and personnel changes in the Trump administration’s national security area since Election Day. Trump fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and installed several officials loyal to him in high-level positions in the Pentagon and the National Security Agency in return. Bryan Ware, CISA’s deputy director of cybersecurity, resigned at the request of the White House, people familiar with the matter told the Wall Street Journal.
The leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, said that “instead of rewarding his patriotic service, the president has fired Director Krebs for responding truth to power and rejecting Trump’s constant campaign of electoral falsehoods,” as reported the conservative Fox News network.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a former Democratic presidential hopeful, also reacted with strong words on Twitter.
“Krebs was fired because he did his job to protect our elections and stood up to Trump’s conspiracy theories. This is a disgusting abuse of power by a weak and desperate president that undermines our democracy and national security.”
Maine Senator Angus King, co-chair of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission and a possible candidate to be the director of National Intelligence under President-elect Joe Biden, said in a statement that “in firing Mr. Krebs for simply doing his job , President Trump is inflicting severe harm to all Americans. ”
The only Republican until Tuesday night who had spoken out on the matter was the former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr, but he did not criticize the firing. He just praised Krebs and CISA and says, “I wish him well in his next chapter.”
The dismissal occurs one day after the second anniversary of the creation of this agency. Krebs celebrated with a tweet this Monday in which he praised even Trump for creating it.
“Happy second birthday to @CISAgov! Two years ago, @realdonaldtrump passed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Act of 2018, thus creating this multidisciplinary and specially designed civil agency to lead efforts to mitigate threats to the critical infrastructure of the nation. “