November 30, 2020

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Two senior Homeland Security officials forced out as White House firings widen

“They’re looking for complete loyalty, and someone with experience serving different administrations is not perceived as sufficiently loyal,” said one person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the moves, referring to Boyd’s previous roles in the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

Boyd, in a resignation letter obtained by The Washington Post, wrote to DHS acting secretary Chad Wolf that she hopes government officials will “act with honor” during the transition to a new presidency. Boyd declined to comment Thursday.

“It has been my belief that people of character should support the institution of the Presidency and work within it to inform and influence policy decisions that reflect well on the people’s government,” Boyd wrote. “This belief has been tested many times these past few years, and it is my fervent prayer that I made the best possible choices. I wish you and our colleagues across the government the strength to act with honor in the months ahead.”

Ware declined to comment on the terms of his departure when reached Thursday night, saying: “I’m proud of the work that I did. I’m proud of what the agency accomplished and proud to have had the privilege to serve the country.”

A White House spokesman declined to comment, as did CISA spokeswoman Sara Sendek. DHS did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

The White House pushed out three top Pentagon officials this week, including Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper. And the latest removals came as DHS’s top cybersecurity official, Christopher Krebs, told colleagues he, too, expected to be fired by the White House at any moment. As of Thursday night it was unclear when or if that would happen.

His agency joined state and local election officials in releasing a statement Thursday refuting claims by the president and his supporters that election voting systems and equipment were compromised during the election.

“The November 3 election was the most secure in American history,” the statement read. “While we know there are many unfounded claims and opportunities for misinformation about the process of our elections, we can assure you we have the utmost confidence in the security and integrity of our elections, and you should too.”

Krebs could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Lawmakers have voiced support for Krebs and urged that he not be removed.

“The outgoing president must leave the leadership of CISA — and other national security departments and agencies — intact for the next 69 days to ensure the security and continuity of government operations for President-elect Biden,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “And I call on my Republican colleagues to stand up for national security and use whatever influence they have to prevail upon the president not to eviscerate our national security infrastructure in the remaining two months of his term.”

Sen. Mark R. Warner (Va.), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, also expressed concerns about the potential of Krebs being fired.

“Chris Krebs has done a great job protecting our elections,” Warner said in a tweet. “He is one of the few people in this Administration respected by everyone on both sides of the aisle. There is no possible justification to remove him from office. None.”

Boyd worked at the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, and she served in the Trump administration as the deputy chief of staff to Kevin McAleenan when he was the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the acting DHS secretary.

McAleenan resigned last fall, and he was replaced by Chad Wolf at DHS. Boyd remained at DHS headquarters in an assistant secretary role, where she was well-regarded but was not an outspoken Trump partisan. She played a lead role in negotiating a series of asylum agreements with Central American nations that Trump has touted as one of his major policy accomplishments.

Ware led efforts to strengthen the nation’s critical infrastructure against cyber threats. He held a previous role as assistant secretary for cyber and resilience policy, and was respected for his technical expertise, colleagues said. Ware was closely involved in the efforts to counter Russian interference in 2018.

Joseph Marks contributed to this report.

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