Chris Krebs, the head of U.S. cybersecurity, has been fired by President Trump — not because he failed to do his job, but because he did it all too well.
Krebs’s job as director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security was to protect the American elections system from attempts to undermine it, either through hacking or through misinformation. “Mis- and Disinformation,” the DHS website explains, “can undermine public confidence in the electoral process, as well as in our democracy.”
You can see the problem: Undermining public confidence in the electoral process and American democracy is Trump’s political goal. The president and his allies have relentlessly spread lies about the security of American elections since 2016, when he began claiming Hillary Clinton’s popular-vote victory was caused by mass illegal voting in California.
Trump began undermining the election months before the voting took place, claiming it would be rigged. He has backfilled that prediction with a nonstop procession of farcical complaints, ranging from the petty (Republican observers were forced to follow social-distancing guidelines) to the absurd (voting tabulations changed hundreds of thousands of votes).
Krebs’ “Rumor Control” site has meticulously tracked false claims undermining the elections and corrected them. It has not attributed the lies to Trump, but Trump is indeed the source and beneficiary of nearly all of them. The lies on the site include claims like “If results as reported on election night change over the ensuing days or weeks, the process is hacked or compromised, so I can’t trust the results,” and “Votes are being cast on behalf of dead people and these votes are being counted,” and “More votes in one contest than other contests on the ballot means that results cannot be trusted.” All of these are mainstays of Trump’s rhetoric.
Trump did not bother to gin up a pretext for firing Krebs. Instead he straightforwardly confessed that he is firing him for telling the public there was no mass-scale vote fraud because, in fact, there wasn’t: