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Trump Fires CISA Director Chris Krebs Over Election Dispute

Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, was removed from his position after disputing President Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Christopher C. Krebs, director of the Homeland Security Department's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and Robert Strayer, deputy assistant secretary of State for cyber and international communications and information policy in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs speak before the Senate Judiciary Committee on May 14, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images/TNS)
President Trump says he has fired the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Chris Krebs, because Krebs disputed his claims of "widespread voter fraud" in the 2020 election.  

The president made the announcement via Twitter late Tuesday, amidst an ongoing flood of tweets about a rigged election. The president's ongoing claims of "widespread voter fraud" have been disputed by a majority of state and local election officials. 

Krebs came into conflict with the president via his comments that the 2020 election has been secure and free of interference. 

"The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud - including dead people voting, Poll Watchers not allowed into polling locations, “glitches” in the voting machines which changed votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more," Trump tweeted.

...votes from Trump to Biden, late voting, and many more. Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 18, 2020
Krebs addressed his removal, also via Twitter, saying that it had been an "honor to serve" at the agency, while also shooting down the notion that he was in charge of policing "fraud" in the election.    

Rumor Control: I never claimed there wasn’t fraud in the election, bc that’s not CISA’s job - it’s a law enforcement matter. We did provide info on measures elec officials use to prevent and detect dead voters, tho. Don’t buy it. And think 2x before sharing. — Chris Krebs (@C_C_Krebs) November 18, 2020
Under Krebs, CISA grew to become the federal government's top cybersecurity watchdog. Formed in 2018, recent months saw consideration of how CISA should expand — both in its ability to dispense with funding, training and protection to state, local and tribal governments, and its ability to hunt and fight hackers. 

Krebs, who formerly worked at Microsoft for three years on cybersecurity policy, has been with the Department of Homeland Security since 2017, when CISA's predecessor, the National Protection and Programs Protectorate (NPPD), was still the highest cyberfocused risk management office in the federal government.  

Lucas Ropek is a former staff writer for Government Technology.