Report: CISA Chief Expects White House to Fire Him

krebs cisa firing

Chris Krebs, the first and current U.S. cybersecurity director, said his protection of election process drew ire from Trump administration.

Top U.S. cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs said he expects to be fired by the Trump administration after he delivered a secure presidential election that didn’t go in the current administration’s favor.

Krebs, the first and current director of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA), ensured that the 2020 election was not tampered with by nation-state actors and remained secure for all voters, with the DHS calling it “the most secure in election history” on Thursday.

However, Krebs’ efforts to debunk misinformation about the legitimacy of the election angered the president given the fact that his opponent and former Vice President Joe Biden has been projected the winner. President Trump has been insisting that widespread voter fraud occurred during the election and filed lawsuits in a number of states to challenge the results, despite lack of evidence.

Because of the CISA’s support of a fair election process, the White House is expected to call for Krebs’ resignation, according to a Reuters report, citing sources close to the CISA chief.

“[The] government statement about the election being secure should be unremarkable,” tweeted Jonathan Swan, a reporter with news organization Axios. “But the reality is every person who had a hand in writing it will almost certainly face the wrath of President Trump and his inner circle in the White House.”

Indeed, another CISA official—Krebs’ assistant director, Bryan Ware—also has been a casualty of election fallout. He confirmed to Reuters that he was asked to resign earlier this week, a request with which he complied on Thursday.

Upon hearing the news, lawmakers and other observers took to Twitter and to praise the job Krebs has done as CISA director, nothing how he put aside partisanship to work for a common goal to protect U.S. cybersecurity infrastructure and the election process. Many also condemned the administration’s decision to fire him.

“Chris Krebs has done a great job protecting our elections,” tweeted Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.). “He is one of the few people in this administration respected by everyone on both sides of the aisle. There is no possible justification to remove him from office. None.”

Molly McKew, lead writer at Great Power and a writer and lecturer on Russian influence and information warfare, called the White House’ decision to fire Krebs and Ware “pathetic” given the CISA’s success in protecting the election process.

“US officials credited with significant successes in defending our elections from interference, cyberattacks, disinfo are being asked to resign/expect to be fired. Because of course POTUS would rather compromise national security than grow up,” she tweeted.

“Krebs has been one of the top and most visible election security officials and has aggressively debunked misinformation in the aftermath,” noted Patrick Howell O’Neill, a cyber reporter at MIT Technology Review, on Twitter. “Widely respected for his work this year.”

Security experts also chimed in to laud Krebs for the work he’s done since he took on the job as CISA director in June 2018 to protect federal cyber infrastructure and the public from cyber-attack.

Chloé Messdaghi, vice president of strategy at Point 3 Security, told Threatpost: “This last election cycle has been a clear example of why CISA is so important to our national security. The evenhandedness that Christopher Krebs and his team have brought to bear has been invaluable in ensuring election fairness, and in strengthening our threat awareness. CISA confirmed the security of election machines themselves, and highlighted the potential risks of misinformation campaigns by nation state threats.

“He and the team worked closely with other government agencies to bring misinformation threats to the front and let keep us informed on threat actors.”

Under Krebs, the CISA issued regular advisories about key vulnerabilities affecting ubiquitous software used by the administration, ordering departments and agencies to update when necessary to remain secure. The agency also issued warnings when the administration became aware of nation-state-sponsored cyberthreats not only to government infrastructure but also the public as well.

“Under his leadership, CISA pushed forward on informing the country of longstanding vulnerabilities being exploited or exploitable by foreign actors, and which needed immediate patching, both for the security of the election and for ongoing organizational and national security,” Messdaghi added. “The United States needs the depth of experience or evenhandedness that he and his team have brought to our nation’s cybersecurity.”

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Discussion

  • Aaron Sterling on

    Krebs is full of it. The whole process is compromised. This is just pro progressive propaganda. I wish government employees would just do their jobs unbiased with no politics. Sadly due to Marxist indoctrination in public schools, our country has turned into a banana republic and the people that count the votes control the elections. The election is tarnished and even though I do not like Trump, he exposed the corruption that exists at all levels of government. Sad
    • Canned Spam on

      "Sadly due to Marxist indoctrination in public schools" Never hard to spot the Trump voters and your obvious gaslighting is obvious.
  • Doug on

    I come to this site for information security news. How can I trust it as a reliable source of information security news when you publish articles like this with such blatant bias. Stay out of politics. Report on information security.
    • Canned Spam on

      Blatant bias? Trump just tried to fire him for crying out loud, everything the article stated is both correct and easy to fact check. How about YOU check your obvious bias?
  • Lou on

    Chris has done a stand up job defending our country from bad nation-states who want to destroy our democracy. Firing him would be a ridiculously stupid action.
  • N. Secure on

    He should have said he thought the electronic portion of it was secure, but the manual process of mailing out millions of unsolicited ballots to addresses that had not been checked for accuracy, voter residency, SSI death match, or addressees that have moved was unsecure and that is an area ripe for fraud. To come out with a blanket statement that the election was the most secure in history was false and he should be fired for being that dumb. Or being that partisan.
  • John Walker on

    The were so focused on the foreign actor that they seem to have completely ignored the most obvious one; the internal threat. Problem isn't that "it didn't go" Trump's way, the problem is that CISA has no clue on how to explain the discrepancies. Also, there have been 1500 successful penetrations into our systems and thousands more unsuccessful. CISA still can't account for or verify what those 1500 penetrations did, what did they take, what did they do, etc. Basically krebs and CISA didn't see the lights go off so assumed all was well.
  • Michael McNulty on

    The Dominion Servers were captured in Germany (most secured in election history" yesterday. Chris Krebs needs to be arrested, then fired.
  • Blizzard on

    The most secure election in US history - really? Krebs, please share your proof and how exactly you came to that conclusion. We’re not interested in your opinions, we want facts to make our own conclusions. Are you saying that the 2020 election was more secure than ever before? So all the other countries stood back and couldn’t penetrate a single line of code, no social engineering, zero bias, no tampering in 2020. Wow, that’s a big statement - are you claiming perfection?! Shut your mouth Krebs, show some humility.
  • Jeseh on

    STOP PUBLISHING THIS!

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