EXCLUSIVE-Senior U.S. cybersecurity official tells associates he expects to be fired -sources

by Reuters
Thursday, 12 November 2020 19:44 GMT

(Adds details on personnel)

WASHINGTON/SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Top U.S. cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs has told associates he expects to be fired by the White House, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Krebs, who heads the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), did not return messages seeking comment. CISA and the White House declined comment.

Separately, Bryan Ware, assistant director for cybersecurity at CISA, confirmed to Reuters that he had handed in his resignation on Thursday.

Krebs has drawn praise from both Democrats and Republicans for his handling of the U.S. election, which generally ran smoothly despite persistent fears that foreign hackers might try to undermine the vote.

But he drew the ire of the Trump White House over a website run by CISA dubbed "Rumor Control" which debunks misinformation about the election, according to the three people familiar with the matter.

White House officials have asked for content to be edited or removed from the website, which has pushed back against numerous false claims about the election, including that Democrats are behind a mass election fraud scheme. In response, CISA officials have refused to delete accurate information.

In particular, one person said, the White House was angry about a CISA post rejecting a conspiracy theory that falsely claims an intelligence agency supercomputer and program, purportedly named Hammer and Scorecard, could have flipped votes nationally. No such system exists, according to Krebs, election security experts and former U.S. officials.

Ware is one of several officials who have left national security-related posts since President Donald Trump lost the election to Joe Biden. Trump has yet to concede. Trump has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims of electoral fraud.

Ware did not provide details, but a U.S. official familiar with his matter said the White House asked for Ware's resignation earlier this week.

The churn is being closely watched amid concern for the integrity of the transition from Trump to Biden. (Reporting by Christopher Bing. Additional reporting by Raphael Satter in Washington; Editing by Nick Macfie and Grant McCool)

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