In a politically charged Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing today, former Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Chris Krebs reassured the committee and the general public that the 2020 General Election was the most secure in U.S. history.
Despite charges of widespread voting irregularities and fraud from Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Krebs insisted that election officials at all levels should be “taking a victory lap celebrating a job well done.” He stressed the accomplishments of the election security community over the last three years, following “a broad attack on democracy” during the 2016 election from the “now well-documented interference campaign from the Russian Federation.
In an effort to stress election integrity, Krebs highlighted the work CISA has done since he rejoined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2017. Namely, restoring relationships between the Federal government and state and local election officials; improving the security and resilience of election systems by phasing out the use of voting machines without paper ballots; and ensuring that Federal agencies could collaborate better and faster with each other and state and local counterparts.
Krebs also touched on the Nov. 12 joint statement released by CISA and others from government and the private sector reassuring the public that the 2020 election “was the most secure in U.S. history.” The statement angered President Trump and his supporters, who have been claiming widespread voter fraud, and eventually led to Trump firing Krebs via tweet.
“While elections are sometimes messy, this was a secure election, of that I have no doubt,” Krebs concluded in his written testimony.
Despite repeated questioning from Johnson regarding the risk of election fraud with voting technology, Krebs continually reassured the committee that fraud of the nature described by Johnson and other Republican witnesses did not occur.
Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., praised Krebs’ work at CISA and quoted the Trump’s Department of Justice saying that there wasn’t any fraud during the election that would impact the outcome of the election.
Peters further asked Krebs what dangers continuing to question the legitimacy of the election despite no evidence of fraud pose to U.S. democracy.
“I think continued assaults on democracy and the outcome of this election that only serve to undermine confidence in the process is ultimately … corrosive to the institutions that support elections,” Krebs said.
“The trick about elections is that you’re not so much trying to convince the winner that they won, it’s the loser that they lost, and you need willing participants on both sides and I think we’ve got to get back to that point. Otherwise, we’re going to have a very difficult time going forward maintaining confidence in this American experiment.”