On Day Agency Declares Election Most Secure Ever, Heads Are Rolling

There's a shakeup at CISA, which Trump himself created
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2020 12:45 AM CST
Not Only Was the Election Secure, It Was the Most Secure
Sandra Papadilla, left, makes her selections on an electronic voting machine while Terrence Cunningham, middle, casts his ballot with the assistance of election judge Steve Meersman at the Lions Park Recreation Center in Mount Prospect, Ill., on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020.   (Joe Lewnard /Daily Herald via AP)

(Newser) – Election 2020 wasn't just secure—it "was the most secure in American history," according to a joint statement from a group of what the New York Times calls "top government security and election officials." The statement from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, part of the Department of Homeland Security, was also signed by several top election officials, and it declared in no uncertain terms, "There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised." It went on to reference the "many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation" before reasserting the officials' "utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections." The statement was released on the same day as news of a shake-up at CISA. More:

  • Director expects to be ousted: CISA's leader, Christopher Krebs, expects to be fired, according to multiple sources who spoke to Reuters and the Hill. Krebs himself didn't comment. Tensions between the White House and CISA have been rising ever since the agency started a "rumor control" page ahead of the general election; it frequently pushed back on the conspiracy theories about voter fraud that are being circulated by Trump and his allies, and has continued to do so post-election.

  • Trump clearing out his own appointees: CISA was formed by Trump himself in 2018, and Krebs, a Trump appointee, has been at its head since its inception. Another Trump appointee, Bryan Ware, was the assistant director for cybersecurity at CISA—but he resigned Thursday, and a source says the White House asked for his resignation earlier this week. His resignation letter makes it clear he did not want to leave. The Federal News Network says it appears a "house cleaning" may be underway, with Trump continuing to clear out anyone who's not a loyalist. CNN reports another top CISA official was also forced to resign.
  • "Dangerous": Axios notes that what should be an "unremarkable" statement from CISA is actually "dangerous" for those who wrote it. "Every person who had a hand in writing it will almost certainly face the wrath of Trump and his inner circle in the White House."
  • Many lawmakers are backing Krebs: In response to the news, lawmakers have been expressing support for Krebs. Sample: Sen. Mark Warner tweeted, "Chris Krebs has done a great job protecting our elections. He is one of the few people in this Administration respected by everyone on both sides of the aisle. There is no possible justification to remove him from office. None." So far no word from Republican lawmakers, but they have praised Krebs in the past.
  • White House has been pressuring for a while: Reuters says the Trump administration has tried to pressure CISA to edit or remove posts debunking election fraud conspiracy theories; CISA has instead kept all accurate information up on its site.
  • Krebs even more forceful on Twitter: On his personal account, which currently carries the hashtag #Protect2020 in its name, Krebs has not minced words. "To be crystal clear," reads one tweet, "I’m specifically referring to the Hammer and Scorecard nonsense. It’s just that - nonsense. This is not a real thing, don’t fall for it and think 2x before you share." That conspiracy theory, which involves a secret supercomputer supposedly used to steal both the 2012 and 2020 elections by flipping votes, has been promoted on Fox.
  • States seem to be happy with CISA: CyberScoop reports that secretaries of state on both sides of the aisle have credited CISA with being closely involved with state governments to protect the 2020 vote.
  • Meanwhile, Trump: The POTUS was tweeting away Thursday night about, yes, election fraud conspiracy theories, including one regarding Dominion Voting Systems, which he and his supporters insist switched votes from Trump to Biden. More on why those claims are baseless here and here.
  • Next to go: It has long been rumored FBI Director Christopher Wray could also be on the list of officials Trump plans to fire and replace with loyalists (Wray has pushed back on Trump's false claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a hoax) and a source tells none other than Newsmax, Trump's new favorite media outlet, "Wray is gone—out of here."
(Read more Election 2020 stories.)

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