Shortly after the presidential election in November, Christopher Krebs, then head of the Critical Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), responsible for protecting America’s most sensitive assets from cyberattacks, made an outrageous claim. In a statement, Krebs said that the 2020 presidential contest was “the most secure election in American history.”
President Trump was so offended that he quickly fired him.
Partisan critics and the media immediately turned Krebs into a hero and martyr.
But now the massive cyber hack critical of U.S. government infrastructure, by what appears to be the Russian foreign intelligence service, SVR, may be showing that Trump was right to fire Krebs.
Not only was Kerb’s assertion unprovable, but rarely do security or intelligence experts use such absolutist language. Not least because, well — you can be proven wrong.
Still, Krebs never backed down, claiming in testimony before a Senate committee last Thursday, his strong confidence in the election process and pointing out there was “no evidence” of electronic ballot tampering by an outside entity.
“I am not aware of any … (voting) process that was accessed by a foreign adversary,” Krebs testified.
Now, Krebs is singing a different tune. On Sunday in an interview on CNN, Krebs took responsibility for the highly sophisticated hack that penetrated the computer systems of a number of federal agencies, including the Pentagon, and scores of private companies.
This massive hack apparently blindsided Krebs and CISA, as well as most of the U.S. intelligence and security agencies.
“So, the way I look at it is, yes, it happened on my watch at CISA. And we missed it. A bunch of other folks missed it,” Krebs said on CNN.
Krebs added that he didn’t become aware of the hack that was launched in March until it became public last week. “This came out in the public after I was terminated,” he said.
President Trump has not blamed Krebs for the massive hack, but he may feel somewhat vindicated in firing him. Meanwhile, Trump has refused to admit that the devastating hack was perpetrated by Russia, claiming that China might have been behind it.
While we should never underestimate the communist Chinese intelligence services, almost all the evidence thus far points to the Russian SVR being behind the hack. Trump should publicly acknowledge that.
In this, Krebs is right — as he was quoted by the New York Post: “Everything I have heard, whether it’s from private-sector cybersecurity threat intelligence experts, things I have heard out of Congress and the intelligence community, it’s Russia.”