Even though the transition has begun, President Trump remains largely punched in the White House and making false accusations about the election behind the snare wall. No legal challenge, no recalculation, no audit has changed the outcome in any state. Mr. Trump’s claim that millions of votes were canceled or exchanged is denied by the official he elected to secure the nation’s electoral systems. Christopher Krebs called the 2020 vote “the safest in American history,” which fired him immediately. Tonight, in his first interview since his dismissal, Krebs tells us why he thinks the vote was accurate and why they say otherwise about the danger to the country.
Chris Krebs: I trust election security because I know the work we have been doing for four years to support our state and local partners. I know the work that the intelligence community has done, the Department of Defense, the FBI, my team. I know these systems are more secure. From what I have seen, I know that the election attacks were not successful.
Two years ago, President Trump commissioned Christopher Krebs to lead the new cybersecurity and infrastructure security agency. The lifelong Republican Krebs was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
Its agency, known by its acronym, “CISA,” helps secure the security of computer systems wherever security breaches can be catastrophic, such as nuclear power plants and the election hardware of all 50 states.
Scott Pelley: Why are you talking to us?
Chris Krebs: I’m not a civil servant anymore, but I feel like I still have a little civil service left. And, you know, it’s hard to take the oath to uphold and protect the constitution from foreign and domestic threats, it’s hard to leave. And if I can confirm or confirm to a person that the vote was safe, the election was safe, I feel like I have done my job.
Krebs, 43, who worked in cyber security under the Bush administration, became director of cybersecurity policy at Microsoft and joined Trump’s Department of Homeland Security in 2017. His main goal was to prevent anyone from repeating Russia’s 2016 election hacking and disinformation.
Chris Krebs: So we spent an order of magnitude of three and a half years playing through every possible scenario of how a foreign actor could intervene in an election. Countless, countless scenarios.
Scott Pelley: So back in 2017, when he expects the 2018 election and then the 2020 election, he has a to-do list. And what does the to-do list contain?
Chris Krebs: Paper ballots. Paper slips allow you to audit, go back, check the tape, and perform the calculation correctly. And that is truly one of the keys to the success of the 2020 secure elections. 95% of the votes cast in the 2020 elections will have a paper record. Compared to 2016, it is about 82%.
Scott Pelley: And with a sheet of paper, you can go back and physically count what the machine says?
Chris Krebs: It allows us to prove that there was no malicious algorithm or hacked software that would have changed the total value of the vote and just look at what happened in Georgia. Georgia has machines that table the vote. A manual recount was then held and the result was in line with the machine vote.
Scott Pelley: And that tells you what?
Chris Krebs: That tells you that there was no manipulation of the vote on the machine counting side. And that, in my opinion, these sensational claims are being destroyed quite thoroughly – what I have called nonsense and false news that these election vendors, their software and systems have been hacked across the country. This is … just … stupid.
Ahead of the election, when the president called the mail a fraud, Krebs ’team released a report highlighting the built-in safeguards of the postal vote. His agency overturned rumors and committed an Iranian act to intimidate voters. On election day, Krebs assembled a team at his command center to defend the vote.
Chris Krebs: I had the Department of Defense’s Cyber Command. There was the National Security Agency. There was the FBI. There was the Secret Service. We also had representatives from the Electoral Assistance Committee, a federal independent agency that supports the actual conduct of elections. We had representatives from —-, the manufacturers of election equipment. And they are critical because they know what happens on the spot if there is a problem with some of their systems. We had representatives from state and local governments.
Scott Pelley: How was the day?
Chris Krebs: It was quiet. And there is no indication that on November 3, before or after, any type of hacking or compromise took place in the electoral systems.
And yet, it was the president, November 5.
President Trump on Nov. 5: And this is the case when they try to steal an election and try to cheat an election.
Nine days after election day, Mr. Trump falsely tweeted that Dominion Voting Systems machines canceled millions of votes. Krebs could not remain silent. His agency and his election security partners responded with a public statement.
Scott Pelley: Quoted from a November 12 statement from CISA and its partners: “The November 3 election was the safest in American history. There is no evidence that any voting system has canceled or lost its votes, altered its votes in a compromised way. . “
Chris Krebs: Yeah, I stand for that.
Scott Pelley: The president quoted this statement as follows: “Chris Krebs’ recent statement on the security of the 2020 elections was very inaccurate as there were huge violations and frauds.” Remember what the president said at the end of the tweet?
Chris Krebs: Oh, did I resign? Yes Yes. I remember that.
Scott Pelley: Were you surprised?
Chris Krebs: I don’t know if I’m necessarily surprised. That’s not how I wanted to go. I think what annoys me the most is that I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to my team. And I worked with them for three and a half years in the ditch. Building an agency, putting CISA on the national stage. And I love that team. And I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye, so that’s why I’m most nervous.
Since his dismissal, about a dozen Republican senators have vouched for Krebs ’work.
Scott Pelley: The president is essentially saying in a tweet that he did a poor job of being blown by you and his team and allowed for huge fraud across the country.
Chris Krebs: We did a good job. We did well. I would do it a thousand times.
Nevertheless, the president’s lawyers filed at least a dozen lawsuits and suspected the conjectures without evidence.
Rudy Giuliani on November 19: And you should be more surprised by the fact that our votes are counted in Germany and Spain …
Scott Pelley: As you watched Rudy Giuliani’s press conference at the Republican National Commission headquarters, what did you think?
Chris Krebs: It was outrageous because what I saw was the obvious attempt to undermine confidence in the election, to confuse people, to scare people. It’s not me, not just CISA. There were tens of thousands of election workers there who had been working 18-hour days continuously for months. They face death threats for trying to carry out one of our most important democratic institutions, an election. And it was a press conference for me again, which just … didn’t make sense. What he actively did undermines democracy. And it’s dangerous.
Scott Pelley: Let me ask for a reaction to some of the voting frauds alleged by the president and his team. Votes recorded abroad.
Chris Krebs: So in the United States, all votes count in the United States. No … I don’t understand that statement. All votes in the United States are counted by the United States. Period.
Scott Pelley: Voting machines spoiled by mysterious actors in Venezuela.
Chris Krebs: So again, there is no evidence that any machine I know has been manipulated by foreign power. Period.
Scott Pelley: Communist money from China and Cuba influenced the election.
Chris Krebs: Look, I think these – we can go on and on all the wolf claims – are about interfering in the 2020 elections, but the evidence is in the ballots. The recount is in line with the original count, and for me it is further evidence that confirms that the systems used in the 2020 elections worked as expected and that the American people must have 100% confidence in their vote.
Scott Pelley: At a press conference, Sidney Powell, a lawyer representing the then president, said Dominion Company’s voting machines were quoting…
Sidney Powell on Nov. 19: You can set up and run an algorithm that probably ran across the country to take a certain percentage of voters from President Trump and turn them over to President Biden.
Chris Krebs: Votes were cast in Georgia, for example, on paper. They were counted by a machine. They were then told by hand. The results of this counting were consistent. If there was an algorithm that reversed the votes or changed the votes, it didn’t work. I think the more likely explanation is that there is no algorithm that the systems worked as intended. That a series of pre-, post-election and post-election security checks protected these systems from misconduct.
Most elections are conducted by the Secretary of State for each state. But none of them, Democrats or Republicans, reported a ballot rig that would change the election. Some pay a price for integrity.
Chris Krebs: And in my opinion, this is an overview of what is happening now with election officials, secretaries of state with all these threats. I would like everyone to see Secretary Boockvar in Pennsylvania, Secretary Benson in Michigan, Secretary Cegavske in Nevada, Minister Hobbs in Arizona. Every strong woman who stands up, who is attacked by all sides and defends democracy. They do their job. Look – look at Secretary Raffensperger in Georgia, a lifelong Republican. He put the country before a party in holding free and fair elections in that state. There are real heroes out there. There are some real patriots.
The stage at the Capitol is set for the January 20 inauguration day. Long before that, on 14 December, the presidential electorate will cast its vote – which must hold the election. Christopher Krebs told us that it was ironic that the disturbances and disinformation he feared from abroad came more from Pennsylvania Avenue.
Scott Pelley: The president says you are dead wrong about election security, and what do you tell him?
Chris Krebs: There is no foreign power that reverses votes. There is no domestic actor who would reverse the votes. I did it well. We did well. It was a safe choice.
Producer: Rachael Morehouse. Associate producers Jacqueline Kalil and Cassidy McDonald. The broadcaster’s staff, Ian Flickinger and Sheena Samu. Edited by Sean Kelly.