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John McAfee talks of sex, drugs, and bad coding
Disavows software that bears his name
Tech mogul turned fugitive blogger John McAfee has been taking questions in a Slashdot Q&A that reveal a claimed life of drug smuggling, political corruption, and living with a hammered testicle.
The British-born McAfee recounts that from 1971 to 1982 (when he was employed by UNIVAC and Computer Sciences Corporation to write software), 99 per cent of his income came from smuggling and selling drugs. He describes himself as a terrible programmer who hired the best coders he could find and stayed out of their hair.
His coding skills would certainly have been hampered by his 1974 encounter with drug lords in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, where he claims his right testicle was smashed with a hammer and is now "shaped like a small frisbee." Lawyers got him off numerous drugs charges and he got clean in 1982, he says.
When asked about the practices of the security software company that still bears his name, McAfee said he'd had no input into the company for the last 21 years (leaving in 1994 after selling the firm to Network Associates for a rumored billion-dollar payout) and the current code was "was none of my doing."
"As to name association, I am a master at sullying my own name and, all things considered, being associated with the worst software on the planet ranks way down the pole," he said. "It's barely a blip in the ocean of associations – madman, paranoid, child molester, murderer, drug addict, unstable, liar, to name but a few."
McAfee lived in relative, if well-heeled, obscurity after his departure from the security firm and said he was involved in researching "quorum sensing," the study of communication systems between bacteria, in the hope of finding new medical treatments derived from jungle plants that could replace antibiotics.
He hired Dr. Allison Adonizio, who had written a PhD on the topic, but claims she destroyed all of the results, research samples, and hard drives before fleeing the country. After this setback, McAfee reports he went into coffee growing before being shaken down by a politician from his laboratory's district in Belize.
"Had it been $30,000 I would have paid it in an instant, ushered him out and then returned to my task of molesting the underage girls (as some would characterize them) populating my property," he said. "However it was not. It was $2 million. Two million was not even in a negotiating arena and, not being someone prone to wasting time, I told him to f**k off and not to come back."
In a dawn raid shortly afterwards, McAfee's home was invaded by Belize's Gang Suppression Unit, and six months later he was sought for questioning after a nearby resident was shot in the head. He claims to have adopted numerous disguises to get out of the country, and he fled to Guatemala after accompanying journalists let slip his location by not wiping geodata.
McAfee was jailed by the Guatemalans but then rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack before being released. But he recounts that his legal peril was as nothing compared to the jealous attentions of his younger girlfriend.
"Chills ran up my spine as I imagined Samantha sweet talking the hotel security guard into lending her his gun after seeing me glance at the undulating derrière of a striking Peruvian woman an hour or so earlier," McAfee, 67, recounts.
"When we got to Guatemala City that night and we were safely ensconced in a new hotel, Sam hit me in the head with an ashtray. She had not missed the overlong glance at the Peruvian woman. I still have the scar."
After returning to the US, McAfee lived for a while in Portland, which he said boasted both excellent coffee and a suitably weird populace. It's helpful that the screenwriter for his movie and the writer of the proposed comic book of his life are also based there.
When asked if he would have done anything differently, McAfee echoed Edith Piaf's "Non, je ne regrette rien."
"Everything that has happened has brought me to this present moment – and not a bad moment at all. You may view my life as chaotic, tragic, comical, whatever. From where I sit it's a great adventure and an unending mystery. I have no complaints." ®