DHS boss Chad Wolf defies Trump order to fire cyber chief Chris Krebs
By Steven Nelson
New York Post
Department of Homeland Security acting Secretary Chad Wolf is defying President Trump’s order to terminate election cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs, multiple sources tell The Post.
The White House on Wednesday evening instructed Wolf to fire Krebs after Krebs openly dismissed claims of voter fraud in the Nov. 3 election.
“He gave us a bunch of reasons why he didn’t want to do it and he said no,” a senior White House official told The Post about Wolf’s refusal.
“If anything, Chad is carrying Krebs’ water,” the source added.
Krebs, a former Microsoft executive, has since 2017 led DHS’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and recently launched a “Rumor Control” website to debunk claims of voter fraud. A CISA panel declared Thursday that the “November 3rd election was the most secure in American history,” rejecting Trump’s claims of widespread fraud.
A different administration official said “the president wants to fire him” and “Chad Wolf is refusing.”
Both officials told The Post that there was no ambiguity about whether the termination order came from the president, who says fraud resulted in narrow unofficial losses to President-elect Joe Biden in crucial swing states.
“Honestly, it was the president saying, ‘What the heck is this guy doing? He’s giving me grief before the election and now he’s saying there’s nothing wrong in the world?’” the White House official said.
Krebs irked Trump allies even before he refuted claims that election fraud tilted results toward Biden. Foes claim he’s close to former DHS chief of staff Miles Taylor, who recently outed himself as “Anonymous.”
A third person familiar with the matter noted concern that Krebs employs an appointee of President Barack Obama, Matt Masterson, as his senior adviser for election security.
“Chad was asked by the president to fire Anonymous’ best friend and he’s refusing,” the administration official said. “He is not managing his agency, but that should not surprise anyone because he is a [former DHS Secretary Kirstjen] Nielsen lackey.”
Taylor did not respond to a request for comment from The Post about whether Krebs is indeed a friend.
It’s unclear if Trump will use his unilateral right to dismiss Krebs from his post without Wolf’s assistance, officials said.
A spokesman for Wolf said, “All political appointees serve at the pleasure of the president. The White House has unilateral authority in hiring and firing of presidential appointees.”
Wolf, in office less than a year, immediately preceded Taylor as Nielsen’s chief of staff. But he’s an unlikely face of lame-duck resistance to Trump after regularly backing the president’s policies in public and helping put down anti-police brutality riots this year.
Among Krebs’ sins, according to sources, is his decision to host an election night gathering at a northern Virginia office building — described by a detractor as a watch party. A document reviewed by The Post indicates it was attended by two staffers of Dominion Voting Systems, whose platform miscounted some Michigan votes.
Dominion software’s widespread use across states is a focus of Trump backers claiming fraud.
Krebs told associates this week he believes he will be fired, according to reports, and some detractors believe he is trying his best to get terminated — potentially to boost future career opportunities.
On Thursday, Krebs retweeted a message urging people not to circulate “wild and baseless claims about voting machines, even if they’re made by the president.”
“Krebs is trying to make himself a resistance hero, obviously,” the senior administration official said.
The official added: “It’s not surprising that Wolf would be protecting someone who worked closely with him under Nielsen along with Anonymous. It kinda makes you wonder if they’re putting the resistance ahead of the president they are supposed to be serving.”