Recently re-elected GOP rep ranking cybersecurity committee member
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has fired the nation's top election security official, a widely respected member of his administration who had dared to refute the president's unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud and vouch for the integrity of the vote.
While abrupt, the dismissal of Christopher Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, was not a surprise. Since his loss, Trump has been ridding his administration of officials seen as insufficiently loyal and has been denouncing the conduct of an election that led to an embarrassing defeat to Democrat Joe Biden. That made Krebs a prime target.
Fresh off a blowout re-election victory, U.S. Rep. John Katko, R-Camillus, said Wednesday he was “grateful for (Krebs’) work to keep this country safe.”
“As Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation, I partnered with Chris Krebs on a number of efforts to defend our nation’s networks, critical infrastructure, and election systems,” Katko said in a statement.
Through a spokesperson, Katko declined to answer if he agreed or disagreed with the dismantling of the agency for which he serves an oversight role.
Katko also did not answer questions about if he supported President Donald Trump’s conduct since the election including the outgoing president’s refusal to concede and false claims of voter fraud.
Krebs and the Department of Homeland Security have steadfastly attested to the proper conduct of the election. In the past week, the department has issued numerous statements and messages denouncing the falsehoods spread by the Republican president and his supporters — without mentioning Trump by name.
Krebs stood by those assertions after his ouster.
"Honored to serve. We did it right," he said in a brief statement on Twitter. "Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow."
He closed with the phrase "Protect 2020," which had been his agency's slogan ahead of the election.
The firing of Krebs, a Trump appointee, came the week after the dismissal of Defense Secretary Mark Esper, part of a broader shakeup that put Trump loyalists in senior Pentagon positions.
A former Microsoft executive, Krebs ran the agency, known as CISA, from its creation in the wake of Russian interference with the 2016 election through the November election.