Cybersecurity CEO resigns after threatening to shoot president-elect Trump

SAN FRANCISCO — PacketSled's website boasts complete network cybersecurity with "3x threat detection."

But the threat board members detected most recently came from the San Diego-based company's founder, Matt Harrigan, who resigned Tuesday after election night boasts he planned to assassinate president-elect Donald Trump.

Harrigan took to his Facebook page Nov. 8 as results confirmed Trump's victory to say "I'm going to kill the president. Elect," according to a Reddit copy of his Facebook comments.

A friend answered, “You just need to get high." Harrigan's response: "Nope, getting a sniper rifle and perching myself where it counts. Find a bedroom in the White House that suits you…. I'll find you."

On Sunday, Harrigan disavowed his threat. "My humble apologies that a flawed joke has become public/out of context. My poor judgement does not represent the views of @packetsled …"

Harrigan's alarming public comments reflect the way in which social media played an often polarizing role in the 2016 election.

Passionate voices on both sides of the political divide used services such as Facebook and Twitter to express frustration and worse, while candidate Trump leveraged the platforms to reach his constituents directly.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said Twitter is taking steps to crack down on hate speech, from making it easier to report alleged incidents to educating moderators on the type of conduct violates its rules.

Meanwhile, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is facing dissent in his own ranks. Employees have formed a secret internal task force to study whether fake news sites that proliferated on Facebook had an impact on the election results, according to Buzzfeed News. Zuckerberg called the notion that such news swayed the outcome "crazy."

Tensions around the fraught election's outcome have also showed up in the workplace.

The CEO of Chicago food delivery start-up GrubHub last week sent staff an email slamming the "nationalist, anti-immigrant and hateful politics of Donald Trump" and supporting employees' rights to make a better life in the U.S.,  inviting employees who didn't agree to resign. He later said the statement had been misconstrued.

Harrigan founded PacketSled in 2013, and over the past years has raised $8 million in venture capital funding.

On Monday, PacketSled's board issued a statement on the company website saying it had turned over relevant information to the Secret Service and had placed Harrigan on leave. On Tuesday, Harrigan resigned.

"We want to be very clear, PacketSled does not condone the comments made by Mr. Harrigan, which do not reflect the views or opinions of the company, its employees, investors or partners," the company said in an online statement.

CTO Fred Wilmot will take over as interim CEO while the board looks at replacement candidates.

USA TODAY


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