Just when you thought Trump’s handling of COVID couldn’t get worse, he threatens vaccine delivery


Among Donald Trump’s post-election revenge firings was Chris Krebs, the head of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA). But CISA works to secure more than elections, and Krebs’s departure comes at a crucial time when foreign actors are ramping up attempts to sabotage  COVID-19 vaccine delivery.

The CISA website includes Rumor Control, a web page that not only debunks false election fraud claims but explains how parts of the election work and are kept secure. People who hear about dead voters and other debunked election claims can go there to find out the real story. Thanks to Krebs and CISA, the 2020 presidential election was “the most secure in American history.”

But CISA is also responsible for securing the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Now evidence is surfacing that there are already attempts to infiltrate the secure data for US vaccine planning and distribution.

So far, both promising COVID-19 vaccines require consistent low-temperature storage to remain viable. Just last week, the agency uncovered attempts to steal login credentials from people involved in the cold-chain process. These credentials might be used to steal technology or disrupt the distribution in transit.

CISA will have to investigate the reason for, and extent of, the breach. And it is going to have to do its work without Chris Krebs, the director who helmed CISA through the fraught election process.

Chris Krebs predicted his own retaliatory dismissal from the Department of Homeland Security’s cybersecurity arm but refused to change his tune to suit the president. And Krebs was right in his prediction: this is just the sort of commitment to the truth that Trump can not brook. The president fired Krebs, by tweet, of course — a tweet flagged by Twitter.

You can be forgiven for not knowing what CISA does, or even that it exists — but the president can’t be.

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