Still, the push to tighten election security and boost public confidence has been complicated by Trump’s downplaying of the foreign threat and his repeated claims, without evidence, that voter fraud is rampant.
Former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff thinks Trump’s remarks are “unhelpful” — imagine, he asked, how much difference it might make if the president were on the same page as his advisers and local election officials.
“A president who got out there and really encouraged investment in the security would be again a positive factor.” But, adds Chertoff, “I think that it’s not deterring the people who are actually doing the work from carrying it out.”
Shelby Pierson, the election threats executive within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, was asked by NPR point-blank whether she has to try to work around Trump. No, she said.
And for his part, Krebs insists that he has all the support and guidance he needs from the White House to do his job.
“We all know what’s at stake here,” he says. “And it’s defending democracy. It’s protecting 2020, and I think the American people need to have confidence that we take this seriously.”
Krebs warns, though, that there’s no such thing as 100% security and that the threat is evolving. While Russians conducted the attacks in 2016, intelligence officials expect that attacks this year could come from others as well, including Iran, China or some domestic player.