Chris Krebs, the former chief of U.S. cybersecurity, warned Monday that it will take years to erase the disinformation spread by President Donald Trump throughout his presidency that last week incited insurrectionists to storm the U.S. Capitol in the final weeks of his term.
Krebs was asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper about what to expect in the remaining days before President-elect Joe Biden takes office and whether he sees the end of Trump’s presidency as the start or end of conflict. The FBI has warned of violent demonstrations nationwide in the days leading up to Biden’s Jan. 20 inauguration.
“This is the equivalent of ignoring that pain in your chest for a couple weeks and then all of a sudden you have a catastrophic heart attack,” Krebs said on “Anderson Cooper 360.” “We’re on the verge of what I fear to be a pretty significant breakdown in democracy and civil society here.”
He said he hoped top law enforcement officials would step up to quell potential insurrection efforts in the coming weeks but warned that the damage would not end with Trump’s presidency.
″Over the next couple years, we have to continue chipping away at the disinformation and the propaganda and the lies that have been spread over the last several years to generate and motivate and incite these actors,” he said.
“The narrative’s been set, it’s been ingrained,” he added. “I’m sure the president will continue to claim that the election was stolen, whether for fundraising opportunities or just to shield his ego.”
He said Trump was responsible and would ultimately have to take responsibility.
“You don’t make that bet, so we have to go look at some of the other options we have available,” he said. ”I see the District of Columbia attorney general is looking at criminal charges. That is part of the toolkit that the next administration, that others will have to employ here to get some semblance of order back into the mainstream.”
Krebs was fired via tweet by Trump in November after the Department of Homeland Security office he led, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said it found no evidence of significant electoral fraud.