Americas, Content

Fired CISA Director Krebs Waves Off Trump’s Election Fraud Attacks

Christopher Krebs, the former head of the nation’s cyber agency who President Trump fired two weeks ago ostensibly for challenging Trump's non-evidentiary claims the 2020 election was rife with fraud, said in a “60 Minutes” interview aired on November 29 that he stands by his statement that the vote was “the most secure in American history.”

The president has called Krebs’ statement “highly inaccurate” and claimed there were “massive improprieties and fraud,” charges that have yet to be substantiated with evidence affirmed in more than two dozen court rulings.

Then, on Monday, November 30, Joe diGenova, a lawyer for Trump’s reelection campaign, in a radio interview called Krebs a “class A moron,” and said he “should be drawn and quartered. Taken out at dawn and shot.” The attorney later said his incendiary remarks were “sarcastic and made in jest” and he wished Krebs no harm.

Christopher Krebs Stands Tall

Krebs does not appear to have wilted under the barrage. In a December 1 Washington Post op-ed, he reiterated his statement:

“The 2020 election was the most secure in U.S. history. This success should be celebrated by all Americans, not undermined in the service of a profoundly un-American goal. We did a good job. We did it right. I’d do it a thousand times over.”

In case you missed it, you can find excerpts from Krebs’ “60 Minutes” interview here.

Krebs' confidence in the sanctity of the election came from knowing the “work that we've done for four years in support of our state and local partners. I know the work that the intelligence community has done, the Department of Defense has done, that the FBI has done, that my team has done. I know that these systems are more secure. I know based on what we have seen that any attacks on the election were not successful.”

Krebs' Former Role at the CISA

Under Krebs’ command, CISA has forcefully alerted MSPs and MSSPs about ongoing cyberthreats that specifically target service providers and their end-customers.

The CISA leader, a lifelong Republican who was nominated by Trump as the agency’s first director, was shown the door after delivering a secure U.S. presidential election in which the security of the voting infrastructure held up nicely against potential hacking by foreign adversaries. By all accounts, Krebs helmed shoring up the nation’s election systems, put in place initiatives to lock down vulnerabilities, forged stronger ties between the federal government and the states on cybersecurity and guided CISA to a centerpiece position in the nation’s cyber profile. Ironically, one of CISA’s growing roles is that of debunking misinformation through a website dedicated to just that.

What bothered Krebs the most about the firing, he said, was that he couldn’t “say goodbye” to his team. ”I'd worked with them for 3 1/2 years, in the trenches. Building an agency, putting CISA on the national stage. And I love that team. And I didn't get a chance to say goodbye, so that's what I'm most upset about."

CISA: Present and Future

The big question, of course, is about CISA’s long term future. With the firm foundation set by Krebs and his team, more budget and full support from the White House, CISA is likely to take on an outsized role in the nation’s cybersecurity profile. Krebs’ firing isn’t likely to alter the bipartisan support the agency enjoys. In the meantime, Brandon Wales, a 15-year veteran in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is CISA’s new acting director. Sean Plankey, who’s currently a senior official in the Department of Energy, reportedly could be in line to head CISA, reports said.

Last July, the House Appropriations Committee approved a $56 billion fiscal year 2021 spending package for the DHS that includes $2.25 billion for CISA operations. The appropriation amounts to a $240 million bump above fiscal 2020 spending levels and nearly $500 million more than the agency requested.

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.