Saturday, December 01, 2012

Software pioneer John McAfee capture at Mexico - Belize border: Unconfirmed report

John McAfee, 67, founder of the software company that bears his name, has been captured, according to a post on his blog on Saturday.  The report, however, is still unconfirmed at this time, and it is unclear who posted the blog entry.

The report came on the same day that CNN scored a coup.  On Saturday, CNN managed to post the first on-camera interview with the "fugitive," who has said he is in fear of his life.

Since going on the run, McAfee has done phone interviews with CNBC and others. However, CNN's interview is the first on-camera interview with the software entrepreneur since then.

McAfee's time as a fugitive began, sort of, on Nov. 9. On that date, McAfee told authorities that four of his dogs had been poisoned. The case truly exploded with the shooting on Nov. 11 of a neighbor of McAfee’s, Gregory Faull, a fellow ex-patriot. Faull was found dead in his home near San Pedro, on the Caribbean island of Ambergris Caye.

Why should Faull's death make McAfee a person of interest? Those aforementioned dogs had been a source of friction between the neighbors, over the dogs' barking and aggressive behavior.

Belize authorities say they want to question McAfee about the incident. They have said that he is wanted for questioning, but not necessarily as a suspect. However, McAfee is afraid of their "true" motives, claiming that the government wants to kill him because he refused to pay off to certain officials.

As a person once deeply involved in computer security, the lengths to which McAfee went to protect himself perhaps shouldn't be seen as strange. They were, however, quite elaborate.

McAfee only agreed to an interview with CNN after a number of conversations that included:
  • middle men
  • telephone calls with numbers changed multiple times
  • a secret passphrase and response
The phrase was "Sorry I'm late."  The response was "That's OK, we are waiting for our co-worker."

In the interview, McAfee describe his time on the run. He said, "It hasn't been a lot of fun. I miss my prior life. Much of it has been deprivation. No baths, poor food," adding that he is unsure how things will end up. That being said, he is not going to give up and turn himself in.

McAfee said, "I don't have a crystal ball. I'm going to fight until something changes. I will certainly not turn myself in, and I will certainly not quit fighting. I will not stop my blog" (which is located at and details current events.

For McAfee, the end to his tale will come only if he is arrested or if he "gets away" from corrupt officials. Getting away, to the software pioneer, doesn't necessarily mean escaping the country, though.

He said, "It means they will, No. 1, find the murderer of Mr. Faull and, No. 2, the people of this country -- who are by and large terrified to speak out -- start speaking out."

McAfee founded his namesake computer security software company in 1987. He sold his stake in McAfee Associates in 1994. He moved to Belize in 2008.

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