Former top U.S. cybersecurity official sues Trump campaign after tsunami of death threats

Hi children scared, respected former Microsoft employee says he must protect family

“Daddy’s going to get executed?”

That’s what Chris Krebs’ 10-year-old son asked recently, after the former head of U.S. cybersecurity became the target of partisan wrath online. Krebs, you might know, was in charge of securing the 2020 election, and his public statements affirming their security cost him his job. They also attracted a lot of vitriol, including a statement on national television by Trump lawyer Joe diGenova that he should be “taken out at dawn and shot" and "drawn and quartered." (diGenova later said he wished Kresbs no harm and engaging in hyperbole.)

Now, Krebs says he has been the target of a barrage of Internet threats, forcing him and his family — including five young children — to leave their home and hire private security. The family has also had to explain the situation to the children’s teachers.

“Plaintiff’s fears were shared by his wife and several of his five young children, including his ten-year old, who piercingly asked: ‘Daddy’s going to get executed?” No parent should ever have to hear those words, and Plaintiff did not take them lightly,” the lawsuit says. “He was compelled to retain a private security firm for extra protection. He and his wife have had to provide his inquisitive neighbors an explanation for all of the attention and unusual activity in his neighborhood. And he and his wife had to inform their children’s educators about the issue. “

People who have been the target of an Internet insult tsunami might not be surprised by the hideous comments that follow, but it’s my belief not enough Americans have directly witnessed what’s going on down there in the digital cesspool. So below, you’ll find comments I’ve cut-and-pasted from the lawsuit. This is not funny, and it is not acceptable, but it is more common than you’d think.

“Threats like these will not stop me from speaking out,” Krebs has told The Washington Post. “I will take the necessary steps to protect myself and my family.”

It’s awful he has to. But, I’m here to tell you, this is life in 2020. Any day you wake up and the Internet’s fire hose of hate isn’t aimed at you, consider yourself lucky.

The Internet has been weaponized. It’s tragic, but it’s true. It’s a dangerous tool that must be used with care. Anyone who stands in the public eye for even a moment understands the “army of awful” that stands ready to conduct this kind of virtual hate and intimidation attack.

And anyone who doesn’t do all they can to discourage this — let alone subtly, or not so subtly, encourage it — should be condemned and held responsible.

WARNING: There is very graphic language. Still, I think it’s important you see it. This is not the entire list — Read the entire lawsuit here. You’ll notice that most of them are from the relatively new Parlor social media site.

[From Twitter]
On December 4, 2020, @jamaimone tweeted: “Ridiculous that diGenova had to apologize for this. What Krebs did is called treason and guess what the punishment is for treason. That’s right, it is death!”

[From Parlor]
On or about December 1, 2020, @Fixitwm posted: “Traitors that are treasonous should be shoot [sic]. No if about it!”

On or about December 1, 2020, @Gordonpoole0 posted: “Why waste a bullet, just smash his head in with rock.”

On or about December 1, 2020, @Planejane37 posted: “He said you should be shot & I agree.”

On or about December 1, 2020, @Spraguep36 posted: “Shoot him at dawn.”

On or about December 1, 2020, @Prtsmnn1 posted: “By his own comments he has put himself in the line of fire! We know now that he did lie when he said there had been no cyber interference with the election. Under this evidence alone he should be tried for treason and shot as a trader [sic].”

On or about December 1, 2020, @JHHenry2112 posted: “Can I pull the trigger??? Pretty please, please please please???”

On or about December 1, 2020, @CPA6792 posted: “He should be shot at dawn that’s an accurate statement.” h.On or about December 1, 2020, @Tbsviralmedia posted: “Can’t sue when you have been shot by a firing squad.”

On or about December 1, 2020, @Nickstiffler24 posted: “Chris krebbs [sic] will be tried for treason by fire [sic] squad hopefully.”

On or about December 1, 2020, @TnTQuinn posted: “If we make an example of one of these traitors then we might get rid of all the rats that are still hiding in the darkness.”

On or about December 1, 2020, in response to an article about Plaintiff potentially taking legal action against Defendant diGenova in response to Defendant diGenova’s threat, @Littlebit8966 posted: “Traitors should be shot!”

On or about December 1, 2020, similarly in response to an article about Plaintiff potentially taking legal action against Defendant diGenova, @Cttrapp posted: “It would be hard to sue if you are dead!!”

On or about December 1, 2020, similarly in response to an article about Plaintiff potentially taking legal action against Defendant diGenova, @Jameskeilman posted: “Barr and the rest of them should be shot!”

On or about December 1, 2020, @Chrischloe posted: “You’re lucky you are still alive you dirty swamp dwelling rat!”

On or about December 1, 2020, @Luminatix posted: “Cry more Chris Kreb [sic] you Twatwaffle. Drawn and quartered...F your quick death.”

On or about December 1, 2020, @iamtriskiadeka posted: “Anyone allowed to quiet this guy? Is there anyone else that’s tired of all these people lying? #chriskrebs is a liar[.] Maybe I’m getting very cruel and mean in my older age.... But these people just need to be treated like traitors!”

On or about December 1, 2020, @StandUnited posted: “The penalty for treason has not changed. His time is near.”

On or about December 1, 2020, @bLtq posted: “The old saying ‘If it ain’t true, why get upset about it’. Seems to me he knows he should be shot for treason.”

On or about December 1, 2020, @Kenazdeb17 posted: “He didn’t get shot at dawn. He should consider himself lucky.”

On or about December 1, 2020, @Nathanbluedog posted: “So it was just a threat? Geez, let's bring back firing squads for treasonous crimes! It’s time!”

On or about December 1, 2020, in response to an article about Defendant diGenova’s threats, @Wjallen207, posted: “Isn’t that what they do to traitors?”

On or about December 1, 2020, in response to an article about Defendant diGenova’s threats, @Sellersbonus posted: “That’s what traitors get!”

On or about December 1, 2020, @Annefreelances posted: “Do yourself a favor go quietly and quickly!”

On or about December 1, 2020, @Ecburke1972, referring to Plaintiff,posted: “Another traitor to hang.”

On or about December 1, 2020, in response to a video stating that Plaintiff is a “professional conman,” @tattertatro posted: “What sort of inhuman dignity could ever let ones tongue laps OUT that much crap and not call it what it is the language A SATIN FOLLOWING PEDOPHILES LYING LOWER THAN SNAKE SNAKE TREASONOUS CONSPIRACY LINKED DINK DOES HE THINK WE ARE , TAR AND FEATHER HIM NO I HAVE GREAT REGARD FOR MY TY FOR SECOND FAVORITE PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS THE FOUNDATION OF OUR COUNTRY AND HIS MOST TRUSTED ADVISER WAS HIS WIFE ITS THE LAW THAT MUST PREVAIL TO ITS MOST PROFOUND TASK AND DELIVER SENTENCING FOR THE CHARGES TO MANY TO PUT HERE IN PLAIN VIEW FOR THE WORLD TO SEE PLEASE PRESIDENT TRUMP DO THIS FOR THE WORLD.