The Department of Homeland Security says it has no records of communications between the White House and top agency officials about the firing of top cybersecurity official Chris Krebs, who drew President Donald Trump’s ire in November for having refuted the president’s false claims of election fraud.
On Nov. 17, after Krebs’ office, DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), published a statement rejecting claims that the November presidential election had been “rigged,” Trump announced Krebs’ firing via Twitter, and CISA Deputy Director Matt Travis resigned that same night. American Oversight filed a Freedom of Information Act request for records from Nov. 3-18, 2020, related to Krebs’ or Travis’ terminations, or about the CISA website “Rumor Control,” which dispels misinformation about election security.
DHS has responded by saying it could locate no such records. That such a high-level, public firing by the president created no paper trail between the White House and senior DHS officials raises further questions about Krebs’ dismissal and Trump’s dangerous refusal to accept the results of the election.
On Nov. 12, CISA posted a statement from election officials and private-sector partners that declared there “is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised” in the 2020 election, which they called “the most secure in American history.” On Nov. 17, Krebs shared a link to another letter from dozens of election security experts denouncing election fraud claims. That night, Trump tweeted out his dismissal of Krebs, prompting Travis to resign.
Krebs’ firing after he and his agency spoke out in defense of the election was part of the campaign of misinformation alleging voter fraud coming from inside the White House. Even after inciting a deadly mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, being twice impeached, and seeing his campaign and allies mount a desperate series of failed legal challenges, Trump continues until his final day in office to falsely claim the election was stolen from him.
American Oversight is also awaiting responses to requests for memos written by Krebs and Travis as well as the communications of senior DHS officials related to the firings as part of our investigation into efforts to undermine the 2020 election results and democracy itself.
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