Trump fires US election security official who rejected voting fraud
Outgoing US President Donald Trump fired Tuesday the government's top election security official, who had rejected Trump’s claims of "massive" fraud in the vote he lost to President-elect Joe Biden.
Trump announced on Twitter that Christopher Krebs — director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) — has been “terminated” from his position, “effective immediately”.
CISA had declared that the presidential election on November 3 was the “most secure in American history."
Trump, who refuses to acknowledge that he lost his bid for reelection, has repeatedly claimed there was widespread fraud in the US election.
"The recent statement by Chris Krebs on the security of the 2020 Election was highly inaccurate, in that there were massive improprieties and fraud," Trump wrote in his tweet.
"Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency."
Krebs, who reportedly told friends last week he expected to be removed, appeared to confirm it in a tweet on his personal account. "Honored to serve. We did it right. Defend Today, Secure Tomorrow," he wrote.
Krebs was in charge of fending off possible foreign and domestic hacker intrusions into myriad voting machines, sorting and counting machines, databases and other systems that states and localities rely on to tally ballots.
US Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Krebs and his team had "worked diligently to safeguard our elections."
"Instead of rewarding this great service, President Trump is retaliating against Director Krebs and other officials who did their duty," he said in a statement.
The challenge was even tougher this year because of the complexities of the coronavirus, which forced a sweeping turn to voting by mail.
CISA rejected claims Trump and others have made, including that many votes were made in the names of dead people, that counting the ballots days after election day is not normal, and that shifting vote counts indicate fraud.
"There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised," an official group of senior US federal and state election officials said in a report last week.
And on Monday, a group of 59 top election security experts also dismissed claims of significant malfunction or fraud, saying the claims "either have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent."