CISA to maintain ‘rumor control’ site to counter false claims in future elections
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) will use its “rumor control” website to counter disinformation and misinformation during future elections despite the site’s role in former President Trump ousting several of the agency’s top officials in 2020.
CISA Director Jen Easterly made the announcement Wednesday, noting her concern around misleading election claims and saying the site would be one of the efforts to combat disinformation and misinformation that the agency is pursuing ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
“So rumor control, when I looked at this as a private citizen, I saw what CISA was doing, which is really making sure that the American people have the facts that they need,” Easterly said during a keynote at the Aspen Institute’s Cyber Summit. “I worry a lot about misinformation and disinformation as a citizen, but also as a mom.”
“If you don’t have the facts, if you don’t have the best information, you can’t make the best decisions,” Easterly said. “So we are going to continue with rumor control, we are also going to continue with some innovative things, graphic novels, which is kind of cool.”
The rumor control site, first used in 2020, was one of the key reasons Trump fired former CISA Director Chris Krebs following the 2020 presidential election. The White House also forced former CISA Deputy Director Matthew Travis and Bryan Ware, a former top CISA cyber official, to resign.
The page worked to debunk voter fraud and election interference claims in the days after the 2020 presidential election. Krebs later blamed Trump for being a “big part of the disinformation” around the presidential election.
Former CISA acting Director Brandon Wales, who took over CISA after Krebs and the other officials were forced out, said in December that the rumor control page would remain up through January and the Georgia Senate runoff elections, but Easterly’s announcement Wednesday means the page will stay up indefinitely.
Easterly praised Krebs for his work in “setting the operating model” of CISA as the agency’s first director, and stressed the importance of securing elections in years to come.
“It really is about energizing the community, focused on one of the most important things,” Easterly said. “Free and fair elections are the foundations of our democracy, so a lot of work there.”