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Trump fires top US cybersecurity official Chris Krebs for debunking false election claims

Zack Whittaker
·2-min read
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 14: Christopher C. Krebs, director of the Homeland Security Department's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. In a paper titled “A Formal Analysis of 5G Authentication,” researchers from ETH Zurich, the University of Lorraine and the University of Dundee warned that 5G could usher in a new era of security threats. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 14: Christopher C. Krebs, director of the Homeland Security Department's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency speaks before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. In a paper titled “A Formal Analysis of 5G Authentication,” researchers from ETH Zurich, the University of Lorraine and the University of Dundee warned that 5G could usher in a new era of security threats. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

Chris Krebs, one of the most senior cybersecurity officials in the U.S. government, has been fired.

Krebs served as the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) since its founding in November 2018 until he was removed from his position on Tuesday. It's not immediately clear who is currently heading the agency. A spokesperson for CISA did not immediately comment.

President Trump fired Krebs in a tweet late on Tuesday, citing a statement published by CISA last week, which found there was "no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised." Trump, who has repeatedly made claims of voter fraud without providing evidence, alleged that CISA's statement was "highly inaccurate."

Shortly after, Twitter labeled Trump's tweet for making a "disputed" claim about election fraud.

Reuters first reported the news of Krebs' potential firing last week.

Krebs was appointed by President Trump to head the newly created cybersecurity agency in November 2018, just days after the conclusion of the midterm elections. He previously served as an undersecretary for CISA's predecessor, the National Protection and Programs Directorate, and also held cybersecurity policy roles at Microsoft.

During his time in government, Krebs became one of the most vocal voices in election security, taking the lead during 2018 and in 2020, which largely escaped from disruptive cyberattacks, thanks to efforts to prepare for cyberattacks and misinformation that plagued the 2016 presidential election.

He was "one of the few people in this administration respected by everyone on both sides of the aisle," said Sen. Mark Warner, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a tweet.

Krebs is the latest official to leave CISA in the past year. Brian Harrell, who oversaw infrastructure protection at the agency, resigned in August after less than a year on the job, and Jeanette Manfra left for a role at Google at the end of last year. Cyberscoop reported Thursday that Bryan Ware, CISA's assistant director for cybersecurity, resigned for a position in the private sector.