Krebs blames Trump for ‘disinformation,’ says democratic institutions ‘under attack from the inside’

"60 Minutes"

Christopher Krebs, the nation’s former top cybersecurity official, said in an interview broadcast late Monday that President Trump is a “big part of the disinformation” around the presidential election, noting that democracy is “under attack from the inside.”

“Certainly the president is a big part of the disinformation that is coming out there about the rigged election, but there are absolutely others,” Krebs, the former director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), told “Axios on HBO.” 

Krebs, who was fired by Trump last month after pushing back against the president’s concerns around election fraud and vote interference, also argued that continued attacks on the validity of the election could undermine democracy. 

“We all just for some reason think that democracy is resilient and can withstand this sort of attack,” Krebs said. “I actually think democracy is quite fragile, and when the institutions themselves are under attack from the inside … that’s pretty close to an existential issue, and so we need the other parts of the three-part government to actively push back and actively engage.” 

Krebs was fired by Trump as part of a larger purge of top agency officials that included CISA Deputy Director Matthew Travis and top cybersecurity official Bryan Ware being asked to step down by the White House. Former CISA Executive Director Brandon Wales now serves as the agency’s acting director.

CISA is the key agency involved in coordinating election security activities with state and local election officials, along with ensuring the security of the nation’s other critical infrastructure sectors. 

Krebs came under fire by Trump after CISA, along with other state and local officials, put out a joint statement describing the 2020 election as the “most secure in American history,” and after the agency stood up a “rumor control” website to help correct disinformation and misinformation around the election process. 

Krebs has also been threatened in the weeks since he left CISA, with Trump reelection campaign lawyer Joe diGenova calling for Krebs to be “taken out at dawn and shot” during a radio interview earlier this month.

Officials on both sides of the aisle condemned diGenova for his comments, which the attorney later told The Washington Post were “sarcastic and made in jest.”

Krebs said last week that he was looking into legal action and on Tuesday filed suit against diGenova, accusing him and the Trump campaign of defamation and inflicting emotional distress.

The interview with Axios is the latest in a round of appearances Krebs has undertaken since being fired by Trump. He strongly condemned death threats made against himself and other election officials during an interview with the Post last week, describing these threats as “undemocratic.”

“There aren’t good words to describe how un-American and undemocratic it is that the actual individuals responsible for the process of this most sacred democratic institution of elections are the ones that are getting the blowback here,” Krebs said last week.

Tags Chris Krebs CISA Disinformation Donald Trump Election Security

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