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What CISA Director Chris Krebs dismissal means for cybersecurity (Includes interview)

Chris Krebs, the director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was fired for not giving Donald Trump sufficient support in Trump’s attempt to cling on to power. It seems that Trump’s action was directly tied it to Krebs’ statement that said there “is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

According to The Scotsman, Trump announced that he had “terminated” the official on Twitter, with Mr Krebs reportedly learning about the sacking via Mr Trump’s tweet.

Commenting for Digital Journal on the incident is Jonathan Reiber, who previously served as the Chief Strategy Officer for Cyber Policy in the Office of the U.S. Secretary of Defense during the Obama administration. Reiber is concerned about the state of the nation’s critical cybersecurity infrastructure. Reiber currently serves as the Senior Director for Cybersecurity Strategy and Policy at AttackIQ.

Reiber begins his analysis saying: “As the first-ever director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), Chris Krebs worked tirelessly and in a bipartisan fashion with state, local, and federal leaders on both sides of the aisle to improve election security across the country.”

As evidence of the success delivered by Krebs, Reiber notes: “The 2020 election saw no major cyberattack take place, and the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council and the National Secretaries of State called it the most secure in U.S. history. Given the Russian government’s intrusion into the U.S. presidential election of 2016 and the risks facing the election this year, that is a big achievement, and it is due in large part to the leadership of Chris Krebs’ and General Paul Nakasone of U.S. Cyber Command and their organizations’ hard work.” The change in leadership could potentially increase cybersecurity vulnerability.

Drawing out his concerns about security, Reiber says: “The United States needs trusted, rational, calm leaders to secure the integrity of U.S. elections in the pre- and post-election period, including against disinformation. Chris Krebs epitomizes the best spirit of bipartisanship that you could ask for in this role amid what has become a politicized public issue.”

Critcizing the dismissal, Reiber concludes: “Despite an array of complex misinformation campaigns, he has managed to build a top-tier agency that has earned the public’s trust through actionable insight into not just our elections, but the entirety of our nation’s most critical infrastructure.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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