Fired Cybersecurity Chief Sues Trump Campaign, Lawyer Over Threats

December 9, 2020 Updated: December 9, 2020

The cybersecurity expert who was fired by President Donald Trump last month filed a lawsuit on Dec. 8 against the Trump campaign and one of the president’s lawyers who made incendiary remarks about him.

Christopher Krebs directed the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) until Nov. 17, when Trump fired him. The firing came shortly after Krebs and others released a joint statement calling the election “the most secure in American history.”

Krebs said in the lawsuit, filed in Maryland, that since Trump campaign lawyer Joe diGenova made the threatening remarks, he has been “bombarded” with death threats.

DiGenova on Nov. 30 told Newsmax Media Inc.’s “The Howie Carr Show,” that “anybody who thinks the election went well, like that idiot Krebs who used to be the head of cybersecurity—that guy is a class A moron, he should be drawn and quartered, taken out at dawn and shot.”

Krebs described the attorney’s statements as “shockingly irresponsible and dangerous” in the tense political climate.

“The defendants’ threats have upended plaintiff’s life, as well as his family’s security, and caused serious fear, distress, suffering, and even physical damage,” Trump appointee Krebs said in the lawsuit.

The Republican has said he was forced to hire private security and move out of his Virginia home for a few days, according to attorney Jim Walden, noting that Krebs is also too afraid to allow his children to play in their front yard.

Krebs in the lawsuit said that diGenova’s remarks were particularly troubling because they were “released into the current climate of political toxicity and instability, in which public officials across the country…are being targeted with acts and threats of violence simply for performing their public duties.”

U.S. Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary Chris Krebs
Department of Homeland Security Under Secretary Chris Krebs speaks during the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity Summit in New York City, N.Y., on July 31, 2018. (Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)

Newsmax Media Inc. is also listed as a defendant in the suit. Krebs accused the media outlet of encouraging “actual violence” against him and other Republicans “for speaking truth and performing his constitutional duties without regard to party loyalty.”

“Newsmax believes that claims made by Mr. Krebs in his suit of a ‘conspiracy’ and defamation against him are a threat to free speech and his legal action endangers all media organizations that seek an open discourse of ideas and news,” the network said in response to the suit, noting that it has no official ties to diGenova.

The network called the lawyer’s comments “inappropriate.”

Krebs is seeking financial damages from diGenova, Newsmax and the Trump campaign.

The Trump campaign and diGenova didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by The Epoch Times.

Before he was fired, Krebs repeatedly said the election was run securely and issued a statement about 10 days afterwards, saying: “There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised.”

Nevada
A poll worker unrolls Las Vegas Strip-themed “I Voted” stickers for voters at a polling place at the Veterans Memorial Leisure Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Nov. 3, 2020. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

He later said that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) never asserted that there was no fraud in the 2020 election.

“Rumor Control: I never claimed there wasn’t fraud in the election, [because] that’s not CISA’s job—it’s a law enforcement matter. We did provide info on measures election officials use to prevent and detect dead voters, tho. Don’t buy it. And think 2x before sharing,” Krebs wrote on Twitter.

Trump, his campaign, and supporters have pointed to irregularities in battleground states, such as three batches of uncounted ballots found in Georgia that were mostly for Trump, and a county in Michigan that wrongly reported a win by Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden before changing the results and saying Trump received more than 5,000 votes than initially posted.

Affidavits filed as part of lawsuits in some states showed poll observers and election workers attesting to fraud, including the counting of mysterious ballots arriving in vehicles with out-of-state license plates, and votes for Trump being counted for Biden.

Trump called the group’s statement “highly inaccurate” as he announced on Nov. 17 that he was firing Krebs.

Zachary Stieber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.