After rumors of his death hit the Internet McAfee tweets that is alive and well.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) September 9, 2013
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) September 9, 2013
John McAfee is an American computer programmer and founder of McAfee Associates. He was one of the first people to design anti-virus software and to develop a virus scanner. The rapid growth of the virus-scanning industry led to McAfee becoming one of Silicon Valley’s first entrepreneurs to build an Internet fortune. He now has no relationship with the company, which was sold to Intel Corp.
In 2010 he moved to Belize to start a biotech company. He is currently wanted by Belize police for questioning regarding the murder of his neighbor, a crime he denies being involved in. He is now in the U.S.
After rumors of his death hit the Internet McAfee tweets that is alive and well.
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) September 9, 2013
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) September 9, 2013
McAfee blogs that he organized a massive spying scheme to infiltrate the digital lives of the rich and powerful in Belize as revenge for a police raid on his home last year.
McAfee says that he gifted 75 laptops with keystroke spying software pre-installed to “government employees, police officers, Cabinet Minister’s assistants, girlfriends of powerful men, boyfriends of powerful women.” He claims that he hired 29 operatives to install similar tracking software on computers that targets already owned, sometimes getting close to them with sex (like any good spy would do). He also supposedly had lackeys join the ranks of two national phone companies to tap phones and get lists of contacts from Belizeans he wanted to keep his eye on. McAfee also arranged to have recorders “hidden under a bed, behind a piece of artwork, inside a pillow, in an old shoe” of government ministers.
He claims to have evidence of numerous sexual affairs, the ordering of a murder by the nation’s prime minister and, above all, a Hezbollah trafficking plot to smuggling Lebanese men into the U.S.
Belize is clearly a central player in a larger network whose goal is to infiltrate the U.S. with individuals having links to terrorist organizations.
In a blog post McAfee says he planted a lookalike (“my double — a man I have known for over 30 years and who years ago legally changed his name to John McAfee”) and had him picked up by authorities in the northern Belize-Mexico border, while he and a group of friends and reporters loaded up a truck and headed in the opposite direction, to a southern town called Punta Gorda. With the news that he’d been arrested broadcasting on a local news station, McAfee figured that checkpoint security would relax.
McAfee followed another friend who was driving one of his pickup trucks to avoid checkpoints on the highway. This was another decoy, McAfee said. “If they stopped the truck, I knew the checkpoint officers would be swarming all over it. Subsequent traffic would be likely to be waved through.”
But then, he also had a secret weapon: the weather. McAfee made sure that his dash happened on a rainy day. “In Belize, no checkpoint officers will ever stop a car in the rain,” he wrote.
He says he blew through all three highway checkpoints on that early December day without ever being stopped. From Punta Gorda, he and his 20-year-old girlfriend Samantha Vanegas and two Vice reporters sailed into Livingston, Guatemala. A few days later, he was arrested.1
In an interview with ABC McAfee says he faked the illness in order to buy some time for a judge to hear his case and stay his deportation to Belize.
It was a deception but who did it hurt? I look pretty healthy, don’t I?
When asked whether he believes Belize officials were inept 1
I was on the run with a 20-year-old girl for three and a half weeks inside their borders and everyone was looking for me, and they did not catch me. I escaped, was captured and they tried to send me back. Now I’m sitting in Miami. There had to be some ineptness.
McAfee also answered critics who called his adventures a publicity stunt:
What’s a better story, millionaire mad man on the run. You [the media] saved my ass. Because you paid attention to the story. As long as you are reporting, it is hard to whack somebody that the world is watching.
After weeks on the run and days in immigration detention, McAfee arrives in Miami, where he is staying at the Beacon Hotel. McAfee tells CNN he and his girlfriend were separated when immigration authorities expelled him from Guatemala. Earlier, police escorted McAfee to an airport in Guatemala City after immigration authorities expelled him. “He opted to return to his country of origin,” said attorney Telesforo Guerra, who has represented McAfee since he arrived in Guatemala last week. 1
I’m happy to be going home. I’ve been running through jungles and rivers and oceans and I think I need to rest for a while. And I’ve been in jail for seven days. I’m just going to hang in Miami for a while. I like Miami. There is a great sushi place there and I really like sushi. 2
McAfee is escorted by immigration officials and police trucks to the Guatemala City airport, where he is put on a commercial flight bound for Miami. McAfee was escorted to the airport, accompanied by many journalists and two police trucks with sirens blaring. He sat in coach class on the flight, which took off at midafternoon.
It was the most gracious expulsion I’ve ever experienced. Compared to my past two wives that expelled me this isn’t a terrible trip.
“McAfee entered the country illegally,” immigration service spokesman Fernando Lucero said. “Guatemala is expelling him. Since his country of origin is the United States, Guatemala is expelling him to the United States.” 1
McAfee says he wants to return to the United States. In a phone call to Reuters from the immigration facility where he is being held for illegally crossing the border to Guatemala with his 20-year-old girlfriend.
My goal is to get back to America as soon as possible. I wish I could just pack my bags and go to Miami. I don’t think I fully understood the political situation. I’m an embarrassment to the Guatemalan government and I’m jeopardizing their relationship with Belize.
The two neighboring countries in Central America are locked in a decades-long territorial dispute and voters in 2013 will decide in a referendum how to proceed. 1
Guatemalan police said they will expel McAfee to neighboring Belize, where he had been hiding for more than three weeks.
INTERIOR MINISTER BONILLA: He entered the country illegally and we are going to seek his expulsion for this crime
McAfee has been blogging from jail, using a computer he says was loaned to him by a warden. 1
McAfee suffers chest pains overnight and is hospitalized briefly after being denied political asylum in Guatemala, and his lawyers said they were making a last-ditch effort to keep him from being flown back to Beliz for questioning. McAfee didn’t believe he had a heart attack, and a doctor agree that his heart rhythm and blood pressure were normal and that he appeared to be suffering from high stress. He was moved to a police-run hospital Thursday afternoon after Guatemalan authorities said McAfee’s request for asylum had been denied. They did not explain why. He was released from the hospital and taken back to the detention center Thursday night.
Shortly after the decision to deny him asylum was announced, McAfee issued a plea on his blog for the public to petition Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina to let him stay.
Please email the President of Guatemala and beg him to allow the court system to proceed, to determine my status in Guatemala, and please support the political asylum that I am asking for.
McAfee’s legal team said they were preparing to appeal the denial of asylum to the country’s constitutional court, a process that could give McAfee perhaps another day or two in Guatemala. The court would have to issue a decision within 48 hours.
McAfee is detained in Guatemala at the immigration office by the S.P.T. (Special Police Task force) Vice magazine has filmed the arrest, and will be posting the video shortly on their website. McAfee later blogs from his cell:
I am in jail in Guatemala. Vastly superior to Belize jails. I asked for a computer and one magically appeared. The coffee is also excellent. Only time will tell what will happen. No one has a crystal ball. However, I would be truly shocked if I did not conduct the press conference tomorrow as I had originally planned. Stay tuned. 1
McAffee says he plans to settle down in Guatemala, at least for now. 1
I have a passport. I am in no trouble with the U.S. I can return any time I like. I have been back to America many times since I have been in Belize. I have no interest of going this month or next but … I can come and go freely to America any time I want. I am not concerned because I have not been charged with a crime, so there is no basis for extradition. No one has blamed me for the murder. I have not been charged, I am not a suspect. … They merely want to question me.
His lawyer, Telesforo Guerra, said his client planned to file a formal request for asylum with Guatemalan officials Wednesday.
I like Guatemala. I think the legal system in Guatemala is superior to the legal system in Belize.
A spokesman for the Belizean police said:
SPOKESMAN: He’s really gone out of his way to make the country look bad, and we just believe he should, if he’s innocent as he’s saying he is, he should bring in his lawyer, and let’s get to the bottom of this and say what he needs to say and let’s move on.
McAfee hires Telesforo Guerra, the former attorney general of Guatemala, as his lawyer. Guerra told AFP that he met with Mr McAfee at a Guatemala City hotel on Tuesday.
GUERRA: I have to manage his political asylum.
McAfee’s arrival in Guatemala comes after days of confusion and secrecy about his whereabouts. 1
In a blog post1 McAfee writes from an undisclosed location:
I openly apologize to Vice Magazine for manipulating their recently published photo… I, for my own safety, manipulated the xif data on the image taken from my cellphone, and created a fake emrgency so that the urgency of movement led, as I knew it would, to the hasty posting on their website. I felt that our tenuous situation demanded action, and that was the action that I chose.
On his blog McAfee writes that he has not been arrested1:
I am currently safe and in the company of two intrepid journalist from Vice Magazine, and, of course, Sam. We are not in Belize, but not quite out of the woods yet.
McAfee says he will return to Belize, and that the Vice story will make everything clear.
According to McAfee’s blog the reason is that one of the cases containing the weapons he donated to the police contained a bag of cocaine. McAfee denies that he takes or deals in drugs.
I would indeed have to be the stupidest man in the world to donate stuff to the police that contained cocaine.
According to McAfee, at 10:45 A.M, the GSU and the Coast Guard raid his property in San Pedro. They confiscate approximately $400,000 worth of property – cameras, computers, police gear purchased for donations and other items. They spend 3 hours ransacking every one of the buildings. McAfee claims this is the 8th search of his property since his disappearance and believes that this time they have planted something.
It is certain, in my mind that something or other was planted during this search. What it may be, I have no clue.
According to a previous post by McAfee, Jeff Wise had come to New Mexico to write about McAfee’s flying adventures for Wired magazine, and had spent the night with a woman who was not his wife. Their public display of affection had prompted McAfee to say to the other guests, “somebody get pictures of this to send to his wife in case we get a bad story from him”. According to McAfee, despite this being a joke pictures were actually taken and some of those did find their way to Wise’s wife. According to McAfee, Wise blamed him for sending the pics.
However McAfee apologizes on his blog:
I have erroneously accused Jeff Wise of improper behavior on a reporting trip that he did to my flying ranch in New Mexico. I finally received the photos from that trip and was going to publish them, and when I looked at them, to my horror, it was a different reporter (whose name I will obviously not release) from a different magazine, on a different trip. I wish that I could excuse myself due to the fact that I did dozens of interviews and appeared in dozens of magazines during my flying times in New Mexico, and could be expected to be confused, but that is no excuse. Jeff’s trip did not even include a campfire session.
I was wrong. I apologize. I know that that does not help, but I am truly sorry.
McAfee publishes a transcript of an alleged conversation he claims to have obtained through secret recording devices kept in the grounds of his property between an ex-employee and a younger man who works for Mr McAfee. The transcript, taken from a recording posted on November 20, appears to implicate the older man in a plot to frame and murder Mr McAfee, possibly in retribution for firing him. The employee is supposed to have said:
EX-EMPLOYEE: You and I we are going to plan how to make a bomb so that it explodes on that m—– f—–. I am going to wait and as he come out am going to shoot him. Because I was a BDF (Belizean Defence Force) I now have something that’s round. I could give it to you. you pull the pin like this. You walk pass the gate and when no one notices then you pull out the pin you turn it then a lot of them are going to get f—–. “
The current employee is then quoted as describing a wider conspiracy involving the local police, who would be called to the scene of the crime when the bomb was planted, potentially framing Mr McAfee for possessing explosives.
CURRENT EMPLOYEE: With the white men [Mr McAfee] we are going to plant the thing there then we are going to call the higher officials and tell them were the thing is planted. And then tell them about Noel as well, then there are both going to get f—–.”
Noel is a close friend of Mr McAfee’s and a bar owner in Carmelita, a village in north Belize. The transcript is paired with a handwritten letter Mr McAfee received containing a death threat.1
On his blog McAfee describes a story on Bluelight drug forums: A user named Stuffmonger had claimed to have re-discovered a legendary drug that appeared a dozen years ago, was praised as the drug of drugs, and, after a few months, was then lost to history. Stuffmonger describes how to re-create the drug, and the resulting discussion goes on for more than 1,000 pages, many devoted to those trying to recreate the technique that Stuffmonger described. As Stuffmonger stated he lives in Belize, speculation arose that McAfee was Stuffmonger and had the secret drug recipe.
McAfee then goes on to say that, in fact, he is Stuffmonger, but that he does not do drugs, and that the thread was an elaborate hoax.
McAFEE: I bet a close friend that I could create a thread in Bluelight and get 1,000 posts, not counting mine. I won the bet. I believe it is the longest in Bluelight history.
On McAfee’s blog he describes steps he has taken to elude capture in Belize, including an elaborate disguise that includes shoving “a shaved down tampon deep into [his] right nostril.”
The tampon, dyed brown at the end, leaves McAfee’s nose with “an awkward, lopsided, disgusting appearance,” he wrote. Aided by “ragged brown pants” and broken English “with a pronounced Spanish accent,” McAfee has apparently spent some time pretending to peddle “small wooden carvings” to tourists.
He says he has adopted other personas as well: a native vendor, selling tamales and burritos (presumably to tourists); and an inebriated German tourist, “with a partially bandaged face and wearing speedo swimming trunks and a distasteful, oversized Hawaiian shirt and yelling loudly at anyone who would listen – ‘Leck mich umausch!’ 1
McAfee starts a blog called The Hinterland, the same name of an upcoming graphic novel about McAfee by Chad Essley. In one of the first posts he takes issue with Gizmodo’s writer Jeff Wise:
How did I end up as a murder suspect on the lam? The world press certainly has not helped. Autonomous and self-serving, the press does what it does best – sensationalize. And my character and the recent events of my life have been sensationalized to the max. Take Jeff Wise and his recent posts to Gizmodo as an example. Jeff has made a life work out of smearing my character. Beginning with Fast Company some two odd years ago and continuing non-stop through the present, he has gone beyond the call of journalistic duty to bring my dark side to the attention of the world. You might think that moral duty or a search for the truth has been driving him. But, sadly, this is not the case.1
In an phone call with NBC Dateline correspondent Keith Morrison, who is currently on Ambergris Caye, McAfee offers a BZE$25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for the murder of Gregory Faull. McAfee called Morrison Sunday morning (November 18th) and not only offered the reward but claimed that he is at his home here on the island, and not in hiding.
MORRISON: One of the claims he [McAfee] is making, and I challenged him on a good many of those claims, is that he does not have any intention of giving himself up, not now not ever.”
Morrison reiterated that McAfee continues to have no faith in the Belize Police Department, even when he is being offered to turn himself in with his attorney and television cameras.
He is fixated on the notion that the police and the political establishment of the police are unbelievably corrupted and there is nothing he can do except stay in hiding.
On Friday (November 16) night, McAfee told CNBC where he had been hiding the whole time.
I am, where I am most of the time. I am certainly inside my compound.
Belize Police Department spokesman Raphael Martinez told FoxNews.com the local police were aware of the latest claims from McAfee and were investigating. “That has been passed on to the police in San Pedro,” Martinez said. “They are checking it out right now.”
Martinez said that McAfee has several buildings on his ocean front compound on Ambergris Caye, a stretch of island just off the Belizean shore dotted with resorts. Anyone of them may have a difficult to detect safe house, Wise wrote recently.
In one of series of telephone interviews with Wired, McAfee responded to Belize Prime Minister questioning his sanity:.
I have no idea where it’s going. I do know that the prime minister and the prime minister’s statement yesterday could be equally reversed. You know, I think he himself is bonkers if he could throw away the constitution of the country and become dictator without the world catching on.
In an interview with the Daily Telegraph McAfee explains why he refuses to turn himself in to Belize authorities:
I think I will be summarily executed. I know the prime minister laughs at this. He’s a clever and charismatic person. The constitution has been ridden away with. They can make up some excuse for removing me. This is the way it is in this country.
My plan is a day-to-day plan, simply to avoid detection.
McAfee is in hiding with a woman and admitted that he has a disguise. He follows the latest news of the search for him sporadically.
I wish I had a TV, that would be very informative. I’m keeping tabs through friends. I have intermittent access to the internet, again through friends.
McAfee did not stay on the phone with The Telegraph for long because he feared that the call could be traced to his current location. But he did stay on long enough to proclaim his innocence, asserting that he was at his villa the night of Faull’s death.
I was at home. I heard nothing,” he said. “I knew nothing until the following day.
Gizmodo reports that McAfee, using his “stuffmonger” alias, posts to a private message board asking for information about how phone tracking works.
How long does it take for a phone company to triangulate a cell phone signal? With what accuracy? Is there any way to confuse/delay the system? If a cell phone is turned off, but the battery is installed, is there any way to locate the phone? Are there any brands of phones are more/less difficult to triangulate ?
Answers ranged from useful to speculative, but, according to Gizmodo, one poster’s response might have summed it up best: “Well this is awkward…”
Police in Belize said they had detained three people for questioning in the death of McAfee’s 52-year-old neighbor, Gregory Faull. Wired said the three detainees were one of McAfee’s bodyguards, William Mulligan; his groundskeeper, Cassian Chavaria; and a local taxi driver, Cesar Trapp. McAfee said about the arrests in a call to Wired Magazine:
This is exactly what happened to Soviet dissidents when Stalin took power. If they could not catch the man himself, they rounded up all of his friends,” said McAfee, who added he fears he would be tortured or killed by police.
Belizean police said they had charged McAfee’s British bodyguard William Mulligan, 29, and Mulligan’s wife, Stefanie, 22, for having unlicensed weapons and ammunition.
McAfee said Wednesday he is in hiding, unarmed and accompanied only by a young woman, changing locations and telephones frequently to stay one step ahead of a Belize police unit he says wants to kill him.
Belize police have said they want to question McAfee, who they describe as a “person of interest” in the slaying of fellow American Gregory Viant Faull. Faull, 52, was shot to death over the weekend on the Caribbean island where both men lived. McAfee told AP in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location that he didn’t kill Faull, though he acknowledged he had differences with the dead man.
I barely knew him, I barely spoke ten words to him in the last three years. Certainly he was not my favorite person and I was not his. He was a heavy drinker and an annoyance. But the world is full of annoyances; if we killed all of our annoyances, there would be nobody left.
I don’t want to be unkind, but he seems to be extremely paranoid – I would go so far as to say bonkers. He ought to man up and respect our laws and go in and talk to the police.
McAfee has said he does not want to give himself up because he is afraid the authorities will torture or kill him. Barrow called McAfee’s statements “nonsense,” noting he had “never met the man” and that the media attention McAfee had attracted was offering him “the best possible safeguard. It’s not as if the police have said he is a suspect and certainly there is no question at this point of charges pending,” Barrow said. “The fact that this is smeared across international headlines means the police would have to act extremely cautiously in the full glare of the public spotlight.”
McAfee hides from police who showed up at his home by burying himself in sand and covering his head with a cardboard box. He said he spent 18 hours hiding on his property before fleeing. Since then, he said he has traveled by boat, cowered in taxis and slept in a lice-infested bed.
The police have been to my house seven times. I expect them to uncover a cache of fully automatic weapons, 4 tons of cocaine. Maybe a Soviet submarine.
Four of McAfee’s 11 dogs are found dead.
John McAfee’s property in Orange Walk Town, Belize, is raided by the Gang Suppression Unit. A GSU press release stated that he was arrested for unlicensed drug manufacturing and possession of an unlicensed weapon.
During the raid, guards found a lab where antibiotics were being produced without a license, and one of McAfee’s 11 dogs was shot for allegedly attacking one of the officers. In the end, all charges were dropped.
McAfee’s account of events
In Nov 17, 2012, McAfee posted his account of events:
In the pre-dawn hours of April 30th of this year I woke to the sound of a bullhorn yelling un-intelligible orders. I ran naked outside and saw a military formation whose uniforms identified them as GSU, creeping slowly down my driveway. I laid down the pistol that I keep for protection and, contrary to Josh Davis’ assertion that I said “Motherfuckers”, said nothing and went back inside. I woke Amy, the 17 year old with whom I was living, and calmly told her to get dressed – that the GSU was invading the property.
Amy is a tough young woman. She said nothing, got up, got dressed and sat calmly on the edge of the bed.
I put on a pair of shorts and went outside. I was immediately grabbed and shoved up against the wall of the house. A sheet of paper was produced stating that the GSU was looking for an illegal meth lab. I did not have my glasses and could not read it so the officer explained it to me.
The remainder of that day was a nightmare of the highest order. My hands were handcuffed behind my back and for 14 hours I sat in the sun without food or water while I watched my property being destroyed and taken away. At around two in the afternoon I asked a nearby officer for water and food. “Do I look like a chef to you?” was his reply. I was finally taken to Belize City and thrown in Jail. Eight hours later I was released with no charges being filed.
Intel pays $7.68 billion to acquire McAfee. Intel hopes the purchase will separate its products from those of its rivals and accelerate its move into smartphones and consumer electronics.
According to the research firm IDC, McAfee has 17.7 percent of the market for securing computing devices, trailing the market leader Symantec, which has 36.2 percent.
McAfee moves to Belize where he starts a new venture in the field of bacterial quorum sensing. His company QuorumEx is headquartered in Belize, a Central American nation bordered by Mexico and Guatemala, and is working towards producing commercial all natural antibiotics based on anti-quorum sensing technology.
The New York Times reports McAfee’s fortune had plunged to $4 million from its $100 million peak, due largely to the real estate and stock market crashes that hit his investments.
McAFEE: I had no clue that there would be this tandem collapse.
McAfee plans to auction off property in New Mexico to pay his bills.
Born in England and raised in Salem, Virginia.