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Live Update: Presidential Transition: NPR

The Director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security, Christopher Krebs, addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee in May 2019.

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

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The Director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security, Christopher Krebs, addressed the Senate Judiciary Committee in May 2019.

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

There are reports that the head of the Department of Homeland Security agency that oversees election security expects the White House will soon fire the country to protect the US elections from false information.

Christopher Krebs, the head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), pioneered an institutional campaign to counter rumors of voter fraud and election violations.

Its main purpose is to target foreign false information, but it eventually refutes many rumors and baseless allegations about President Trump and his campaign spreading the election, which obviously aroused the anger of the White House.

As of Friday, Krebs is still in office, and CISA officials regularly meet with private sector members of the coordination committee established after the 2016 election to work with the agency to protect the U.S. election from cyberattacks and other sabotage.

The committee and another council representing state and local election officials issued a joint statement on Thursday, calling the 2020 election “the safest election in American history.” It appears in bold, “There is no evidence that any voting system will delete or lose votes, change votes or be compromised in any way.”

According to a council member, the statement issued by CISA was a direct response to the president’s tweet on Thursday morning, citing the unfounded claim that the voting equipment provided by Dominion Voting Systems “has been removed 270 nationwide. Ten thousand Trump votes” and converted hundreds of thousands of other Trump votes to Joe Biden.

Trump tweeted on Friday that the election was indeed the safest election ever, but it was also “manipulated”, which added to the chaos.

After Trump fired several senior national security officials and two other CISA officials were removed, there are concerns that Krebs may be expelled.

Security officials said that even after election day, as states continue to count ballots and verify their results, the country’s voting system remains fragile.

Coordinating committee members said that the biggest threat at the moment is false information about the process, and the Trump campaign is working hard to challenge this result.

The person who spoke in the background said that Krebs’s deportation was “very worrying,” but it’s hard to say how much damage it would cause in the short term because other people in the agency have been working with state and local officials. Work closely to ensure this goal. election.

This person said: “CISA has a lot of outstanding talents, they will continue to exist and will continue to work.”

However, in the long run, this could have a huge impact on government efforts that are considered largely successful. CISA was established in 2018, when Russia took active measures to disrupt the 2016 election.

Krebs was the first director of the agency, and he has been working to build a stronger partnership between the federal government and the states-after Russian intervention exposed the huge differences in the state’s election methods, this is A difficult task. After 2016, it took months and sometimes years for the federal government to share information on Russian activities with all relevant state officials.

Election Day proved that these relationships have completely changed under Krebs’ leadership, when CISA established a war room for communication between states, voting machine vendors, social media companies, and political parties.

An official from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security worked with Krebs, but gave a speech out of fear of retaliation. He told NPR that Krebs’ dismissal would “put CISA in trouble.”

The official said: “Chris won the trust of the entire agency staff.” “In any political appointment I work with, he can easily become the most capable and capable person.”

He also received great praise and support from outside the organization.

In response to reports that Krebs will be fired on Thursday afternoon, Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner tweeted: “There is no reason to cancel. [Krebs] From the office. No. “

Prepare for 2020

Before the 2020 election, CISA is committed to helping local governments strengthen their cyber security systems. But the agency has always stated that misinformation about the legitimacy of elections is as big a problem as hacking computers.

To this end, the agency recently established a website called Rumor Control, which aims to expose false election information throughout the voting season.

Krebs told reporters that ensuring that Americans have facts is “one of the best strategies and techniques we currently use to deal with these false information and influence actions.”

But it is immediately clear that these facts will also conflict with the president.

Trump has telegraphed for months, even years, and if he loses, he will try to undermine people’s confidence in the result. A person familiar with the matter said that the leadership of CISA knows that there may eventually be cases where the content on the rumor-controlled website does not match Trump’s words, which may have professional consequences for Krebs and other personnel in the agency.

“This is the only person I have seen in his own campaign [victory], The person familiar with the matter said that he talked about 2016, when Trump, despite winning the electoral college, was still spreading millions of illegal votes after losing the popular vote.

Despite this, Krebs never called Trump’s name.

Krebs told reporters in early November: “It is not our job to verify the president.” The agency’s rumor control website will directly quote false sources instead of debunking the content.

However, because Trump and his campaign have been one of the most important disseminators of disinformation since election day, this position has become increasingly blurred.

Krebs, as well as state and local government officials, have always believed that the 2020 election was a success: historic turnout so far, there has been no major turmoil without foreign interference-everything is in the midst of a pandemic.

Ben Hofland, the chairman of the U.S. Electoral Assistance Board, the federal agency responsible for improving election management, said: “We should talk about how the system works and increase people’s confidence and trust in the process.” “On the contrary, we are talking about Conspiracy theories to manipulate elections.”

Since Election Day, Krebs has been active on Twitter and has continued to post “rumor control updates.” These updates link back to the CISA website and provide factual information about the election process. These facts are usually related to Trump and his campaign. The claims made on the voter fraud allegations contradicted.

The website displays a bright red “X” before the word “rumor” with the following content: “If the results of the election night report change in the following days or weeks, the process will be hacked Invasion or destruction, so I cannot believe the result.”

Instead, it leads the audience to the “reality” marked with a green check mark.

“The reporting of election results may be slower than in previous years. This does not mean that there is any problem with the counting process or results. Before all valid votes are counted, including after election night, the website display.

The website also refuted a conspiracy spread by Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani that the deceased voted in the general election.

The Trump campaign even filed a lawsuit based on rumors that some votes in Arizona were rejected because voters used shampoo to fill in these votes.

Krebs said in a tweet: “Don’t promote disinfo! Stop spreading the #SharpieGate claim.

The official familiar with the matter said on Thursday that they did not know how likely Krebs was to be fired.

The official said: “It is almost impossible to try to predict what the president will do.”

The latest dismissal from the White House

After the president loses his re-election bid for Biden, Krebs’ dismissal will be the latest personnel change in the Trump administration.

On Monday, Trump said on Twitter that Defense Secretary Mark Esper had been “fired” and would be replaced by Christopher Miller, director of the National Counter-Terrorism Center.

As reported by NPR’s Tom Bowman, sources said Esper had prepared a letter of resignation because Trump threatened to fire in June for using active troops to quell street protests. he.

Since then, three other senior Pentagon officials have been replaced by Trump loyalists.

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