The McAfee Affair: Guns, Drugs, Psychopathy, and a Garbage Bag Full of Viagra

Categories: Tech
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The Petraeus scandal is pretty weird -- and getting weirder. But it's still got nothing on the scandal involving John McAfee, founder of the eponymous maker of antivirus software (now owned by Intel).

McAfee is on the lam, accused of murder in Belize, where he was living as an expatriate. He denies the charge, but even if he's innocent, he is one strange ranger. By contrast, for all the bizarre stuff surrounding the Petraeus affair -- the "second general" who traded tens of thousands of e-mails with the "second woman," the shirtless pictures sent by an FBI agent to that same woman -- it is, at its core, a standard Washington sex scandal.

The McAfee Affair, by contrast, is unique in its bizarreness.

Less than a week ago, Gizmodo published a story by Jeff Wise about his visit with McAfee last spring -- a story that is positively Conradian, or Apocalypse-Nowian, with McAfee in the Kurtz role either way.

Wise had previously written approvingly about McAfee as fascinating, charismatic, eccentric. By now, Wise had concluded that the man was "a compulsive liar if not an outright psychopath, albeit one whose life as a thrill-seeking serial entrepreneur was as entertaining for me to follow as it was amusing for him to perform." (Wise expands on his conclusions about McAfee's mental state on his personal blog.)

Wise describes McAfee's weird setup in Belize over the past couple of years, surrounded by menacing armed security guards and working with a woman, Allison Adonizio, on some kind of compound that supposedly would revolutionize the treatment of bacterial disease.

Adonizio fled in 2010, in fear for her life, and described McAfee as growing increasingly weirder, more paranoid, and more dangerous. Even his fellow local expats -- an odd bunch themselves -- were avoiding him now. He started getting involved with hookers and kinky sex. One day, she came upon "a garbage bag full of Viagra."

Not long after Wise's visit this past spring, police raided McAfee's home, finding it filled with guns and housing a lab. But apparently, they found nothing illegal.

After Wise's piece was published last week. readers who knew McAfee started e-mailing Gizmodo, talking of McAfee's latest interest -- bath salts, and how they might be used as a recreational drug. He seemed mainly interested in their effect on sexual performance, and posted regularly on a Russian website under the name "stuffmonger" about his desire for a "super perv powder."

On Monday, it was reported that McAfee is accused of killing his neighbor, another expat named Gregory Faull, who was shot to death in his home on Saturday. Apparently, the men had been feuding, and, Gizmodo reports, their "final disagreement apparently involved dogs."

Wired scored an interview with the fugitive McAfee, who told reporter Joshua Davis that, as police searched his property, he was nearby, buried in the sand with a cardboard box over his head. "It was extraordinarily uncomfortable," he said. Probably not as uncomfortable as it is for people to be around McAfee, though.

Supposedly, he's still in Belize, which he told Wired is "the nicest place on Earth." This, even though he's sure that if the authorities find him, they will kill him. As it happens, Wired magazine's January issue will tell the "complete story of McAfee's journey from high-profile tech entrepreneur to accused murderer."

And now back to your regularly scheduled Washington sex scandal. Sorry if it now pales in comparison.



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