Ousted cyber official: Giuliani press conference ‘most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes’ of TV in US history
Christopher Krebs, the top federal cybersecurity official who was fired by President Trump this week, called Thursday’s press conference held by Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and other Republicans some of the “most dangerous” television in U.S. history.
“That press conference was the most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes of television in American history. And possibly the craziest,” Krebs tweeted. “If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re lucky.”
Krebs, former director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), was fired on Tuesday after publicly pushing back against disinformation and misinformation surrounding the presidential election. Trump has refused to concede the race to President-elect Joe Biden, making unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud.
Giuliani and other members of Trump’s legal team held a press conference Thursday to give an update on the campaign’s legal challenges in various battleground states where vote tallies show Biden with a substantial lead.
Giuliani cited multiple now-debunked claims of voter fraud in making the case for Trump, including citing a scene from the film “My Cousin Vinny” in which a character is too far away from a crime scene to be a credible witness to argue the Trump campaign wasn’t allowed close enough to observe ballot counting in Pennsylvania.
In his role as head of CISA, Krebs coordinated with state and local officials to boost election security following Russian interference in 2016.
Trump took issue with CISA’s involvement with other leading bipartisan election groups and officials last week that put out a statement describing the 2020 election as the “most secure in American history.”
CISA also set up a “rumor control” page to address disinformation and misinformation around voter fraud and election interference.
Krebs tweeted out some of those rumor control statements in the lead-up to his dismissal, drawing Trump’s ire.
“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 Biden, late voting, and many more,” Trump tweeted Tuesday.
“Therefore, effective immediately, Chris Krebs has been terminated as Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency,” he added in the tweet.
Krebs was not the only CISA official forced out. Deputy Director Matthew Travis resigned the same night Krebs was fired, and top cybersecurity official Bryan Ware stepped down last week following pressure from the White House.
A CISA spokesperson confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday that Brandon Wales is now serving as executive director of the agency, which is heavily involved in issues including election security and defending other critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, against cyberattacks.
Krebs is well-respected on Capitol Hill, having served as the director of CISA since it was established in 2018. Several GOP lawmakers criticized Trump’s firing of Krebs, while Democrats were unanimous in their condemnation of his ouster.
In the two days since being fired, Krebs has used his personal account to respond to some of the allegations against him, tweeting on Wednesday that “I never claimed there wasn’t fraud in the election, bc that’s not CISA’s job – it’s a law enforcement matter.”
“We did provide info on measures elec officials use to prevent and detect dead voters, tho,” he noted. “Don’t buy it. And think 2x before sharing.”