Top election security official to leave federal cybersecurity agency

Top election security official to leave federal cybersecurity agency
© Greg Nash

Matthew Masterson, the senior election security advisor at the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), will depart the agency, a move that comes just weeks after President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE fired the agency's director. 

Masterson confirmed to The Hill that he intends to leave CISA for a job outside the federal government on Dec. 18. The agency serves as one of the key federal groups responsible for securing elections and other critical infrastructure.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that Masterson intends to leave CISA. 

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According to CyberScoop, Masterson will take up a position at the Stanford Internet Observatory, which is led by former Facebook chief security officer Alex Stamos and researches security issues including election security.

Trump last month fired former CISA Director Christopher Krebs, and shortly afterward former CISA Deputy Director Matthew Travis and top cybersecurity official Bryan Ware resigned after being asked to do so by the White House. 

All three were pushed out after CISA, along with a coalition of state and local officials, put out a statement in the days after Election Day describing the 2020 election as “the most secure in American history,” and after CISA stood up a “rumor control” web page meant to debunk disinformation and misinformation around the general election. 

Trump has repeatedly claimed without evidence that the vote was rigged, and that there are multiple instances of widespread fraud that swung the vote to President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE.

Masterson was one of the few remaining senior leaders at CISA, with former Executive Director Brandon Wales taking over the agency as acting director after the departures of Krebs and Travis. 

Masterson previously served as a member of the Election Assistance Commission before being brought on by Krebs at CISA in 2018 to help strengthen the agency’s election security mission.

Masterson served as a key liaison between CISA and state and federal election officials, and has previously testified to Congress on election security topics.