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Trump fires top Homeland Security official who said election was secure

US President Donald Trump has fired a top Homeland Security official who last week said that the November 3 presidential election was the most secure one in America's history

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US Presidential elections 2020 | Donald Trump

Press Trust of India  |  Washington 

President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters
President Donald Trump. Photo: Reuters

US President has fired a top Homeland Security official who last week said that the November 3 presidential election was the most secure one in America's history.

Trump, who has alleged that there was a large-scale voter fraud and electoral malpractice, announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he has fired Christopher Krebs, director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) at the Department of Homeland Security.

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 (President-elect Joe) Biden, late voting and many more, Trump said in a tweet.

Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, he said.

Trump said that the only thing secure about the election was that it was virtually impenetrable by foreign powers.

On that, the Trump administration takes great credit. Unfortunately, the Radical Left Democrats, Dominion, and others, were perhaps more successful! he said.

Trump has so far not conceded the election and asserts that he won.

As per the American tradition, mainstream media has declared Biden as the winner. In his capacity as president-elect, Biden has been receiving congratulatory calls from the world leaders.

Media and state officials have said that they have not found any evidence of voter fraud as alleged by Trump.

In a statement issued on November 12, members of the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC) including Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said that the November 3 election was the most secure in American history.

Right now, across the country, election officials are reviewing and double checking the entire election process prior to finalising the result, it said.

When states have close elections, many will recount ballots. All of the states with close results in the 2020 presidential race have paper records of each vote, allowing the ability to go back and count each ballot if necessary. This is an added benefit for security and resilience. This process allows for the identification and correction of any mistakes or errors. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised, the statement said.

Senator Mark Warner, co-chair of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, condemned the firing of Krebs.

Chris Krebs is an extraordinary public servant and exactly the person Americans want protecting the security of our elections. It speaks volumes that the president chose to fire him simply for telling the truth, he said.

Congressman Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said that throughout this election, Krebs worked diligently to safeguard the elections, provide vital support to state and local election officials, and inform the American people about what was true and what was not.

In the best tradition of government service, they spoke truth to power and helped keep Americans and our institutions safe. 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, he said.

Christopher Krebs
Christopher Krebs

In a joint statement, Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Lauren Underwood, Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection and Innovation, said that in firing Krebs for refusing to lend credibility to his baseless claims and conspiracy theories about voter fraud, Trump is telling officials throughout the administration to put his political interests ahead of their responsibilities to the American people.

That is not only disturbing, it is antidemocratic, the two lawmakers said.

The President's unsubstantiated tweets this evening do nothing to defend our state and local governments and critical infrastructure against malicious cyber campaigns from Russia, China, and Iran. And they do nothing to improve the security of our elections, they said.

The fact is that, since election day, Trump has sought to delegitimise the election results by engaging in a disinformation campaign that could shatter public confidence in elections for generations, the two influential lawmakers said.

We commend Chris Krebs for refusing to cave to political pressure from the White House and instead choosing to uphold his obligations to the American people as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, they said.

Our country finds itself without a smart and capable cyber chief in one of the most vulnerable times our nation has ever seen during a worsening pandemic and in the middle of a presidential transition. Once again, President Trump puts himself before our country. He does not care about the safety and wellbeing of the American people and that is why he lost this election," said Congressman C A Dutch Ruppersberger.

Congressman Jim Langevin, a senior member of House Committee on Homeland Security, member of the Cyberspace Solarium Commission, and co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cybersecurity Caucus, decried the removal of Krebs.

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First Published: Wed, November 18 2020. 09:22 IST