The Lowdown Hub

The Cybersecurity 202: Chris Krebs fiercely defends election while President Trump’s attacks

Chris Krebs shaking hands with President Trump in the The Oval Office

Christopher Krebs last night offered a cool, rational defense of the election’s integrity in his first interview since President Trump fired him as the nation’s top election security official.

It was a stark contrast with President Trump, whose attacks on the 2020 contest are becoming increasingly fantastical. Krebs, who led the government’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, gave “60 Minutes” interviewer Scott Pelley a point-by-point refutation of the unfounded election fraud claims made by Trump and his allies, which he called “nonsense” and “farcical.”

Those baseless claims include a conspiracy theory positing that Democrats operated a secret algorithm changing how machines recorded votes on an extensive scale and that votes were mysteriously tabulated overseas.



Krebs’s bottom line: Such fraud claims fail the smell test because, as of 2020, there are paper records for 95 percent of ballots cast by American voters. And hand counts of those ballots in Georgia, Wisconsin, and elsewhere show no significant difference between what was tabulated by machines.

“The proof is in the ballots,” he said. “The recounts are consistent with the initial count. To me that’s further evidence, that’s confirmation that the systems used in the 2020 election performed as expected and the American people should have 100 percent confidence in their votes.”

That’s been a consistent message for Krebs, who has trumpeted the importance of paper ballots and post-election audits as vital protections against election hacking or other malfeasance for more than three years. Trump, by contrast, has frequently shifted his claims about election fraud depending on where he thinks he can gain an edge.


Krebs lashed out at Rudy Giuliani and Trump’s other lawyers who have peddled such claims.

He savaged a news conference in which the lawyers alleged without evidence that Dominion Voting Systems’ machines somehow changed votes, calling it an attempt “to undermine confidence in the election, to confuse people to scare people.”



There’s no evidence Dominion machines, which were used in Georgia and other states to mark and record votes, were compromised. Dominion has produced a 15-point refutation of the claims.

“What it was actively doing was undermining democracy, and that’s dangerous,” Krebs said.

He also called it “a travesty” that doubts about the election’s integrity have led to attacks, including death threats, against secretaries of state and other election officials.

“They’re defending democracy. They’re doing their jobs,” he said.


Here are more details from Krebs's interview with Jaclyn Peiser.

Trump, meanwhile, doubled down on his baseless claims.

In his first TV interview since the election, he casually suggested to Fox News Channel’s “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo that the Justice Department and the FBI might have been part of a broad conspiracy to rig the election.


He also repeated debunked claims, including that large numbers of ballots were cast on behalf of the deceased and pledged he was “going to use 125 percent of my energy” to continue to contest President-elect Joe Biden’s win, Felicia Sonmez reports.



Trump claimed that foreign leaders have been calling and telling him this was the most “messed-up” el