Chris Krebs: who is the CISA cybersecurity chief fired by Donald Trump for speaking out against election fraud claims

The President announced via Twitter that Chris Krebs had been “terminated” as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

Donald Trump has fired a top election official for dismissing the outgoing president’s claims of voter fraud.

Chris Krebs, who heads up the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), was criticised by the president “highly inaccurate remarks” on voter fraud.

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The president announced that he had “terminated” the official on Twitter, with Mr Krebs reportedly learning about the sacking via Mr Trump’s tweet.

Chris Krebs was sacked as the head of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (Getty Images)
Chris Krebs was sacked as the head of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (Getty Images)

In response, Mr Krebs tweeted that he had no regrets, posting: “Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomrorow. #Protect2020”.

Why was Chris Krebs fired?

Christopher Krebs was sacked after CISA declared that the election was the “most secure in US history”.

Last Thursday the agency declared "there is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

A CISA-run misinformation debunking website called Rumour Control is also said to have drawn the ire of the president who has made unfounded claims about voter fraud following his defeat to president-elect Joe Biden.

On Tuesday prior to his firing, Mr Krebsposted a tweet indirectly addressing claims made by Mr Trump.

He wrote: "ICYMI: On allegations that election systems were manipulated, 59 election security experts all agree, 'in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent.' #Protect2020".

Mr Krebs has previously retweeted a post by an election law expert which read: "Please don't retweet wild and baseless claims about voting machines, even if they're made by the president."

Who is Chris Krebs?

Chris Krebs was sworn in as the first director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency in 2018 after he was nominated by President Trump.

Mr Krebs had been serving as Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Protection.

Before working for Homeland Security Krebs worked at Microsoft where he led on U.S. policy work on cybersecurity and technology issues.

In his current role Krebs “oversees CISA’s efforts to defend civilian networks, manage systemic risk to national critical functions, and work with stakeholders to raise the security baseline of the Nation’s cyber and physical infrastructure.”

Krebs holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia and a J.D. from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University.

What was the reaction to Chris Krebs’ sacking?

A spokesperson for President-elect Joe Biden was critical of the sacking, defending Mr Krebs.

They stated: "Chris Krebs should be commended for his service in protecting our elections, not fired for telling the truth".

Speaking to CNN, Republican senator Rob Portman voiced his disappointment at Mr Krebs’ dismissal.

He stated: I think he was very good. I think what he was trying to do in an unprecedented way was to connect with every state in the country, and give them what they needed to protect and have a firewall in place to protect against cyber attacks."

Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee scolded President Trump for the sacking.

He wrote: "Instead of rewarding this great service, President Trump is retaliating against Director Krebs and other officials who did their duty. It's pathetic, but sadly predictable that upholding and protecting our democratic processes would be cause for firing,"