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John McAfee Takes to the Seas, Fleeing a Feared Indictment; Intends to Pursue His Libertarian Presidential Race Via Masked Surrogates

The antivirus visionary hopes Libertarians will credit him for "standing up and risking things" for freedom by campaigning in exile.

John McAfee, the cybersecurity founding father, subject of a forthcoming feature film starring Michael Keaton about his adventures in Belize (which ended with him suspected of murdering a neighbor), and international adventurer (and consensual whale sex advocate) has announced his intention for a second run for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination. In 2016, he came in third with 14 percent of the delegate votes at the Libertarian National Convention on the first ballot.

John McAfee FacebookJohn McAfee Facebook

In a phone interview yesterday, from what he told me were international waters after having visiting a U.S. consulate in the Bahamas, McAfee announced his campaign will be run in exile. He's currently living on a boat, and expects he might be for the foreseeable future.

He's certain a federal grand jury out of Tennessee has convened that will likely indict him for charges related to income taxes and cybercurrency. "I've known it's coming for well over a year," he says. "There are no secrets in the world; how ridiculous to think a grand jury is secret? If more than one person knows something, it's not a secret. I've been preparing to get out of town well ahead of the IRS collecting me."

McAfee insists he, his wife Janice, and four unnamed associates will be indicted by a grand jury, an institution he considers barbaric and finds curious that only the U.S. and Liberia still use (though many argue that at least a jury of peers, even if highly manipulable by prosecutors, is better than just allowing state prosecutors to directly indict).

McAfee is cagey about how often and where he might have to hit land in his oceanic exile. "The nice thing about a large boat is we can cruise anywhere, and pull in anywhere. We are flexible; the IRS is not. We are quick; the IRS is slow. We are well ahead of the curve, and the IRS are well behind it." He believes his recent run as a promoter of cybercurrency, which promises to limit the government's ability to identify and take our assets, has marked him for punishment.

But his campaign for the L.P. nomination will do just fine; he intends to have an army composed of what he says are over four thousand volunteers appear in McAfee masks on "street corners, in parks, amusement parks, hotel lobbies" around America at the same time "once a month or more frequently" and deliver messages direct from him.

"I will say, 'clone in New York, turn on the camera' and I will look at someone and answer questions, then move to someone in L.A." He expects to send such masked spokespeople to conference and candidate debates as well. He'll instruct his surrogates via smartphone as to what to say and where to turn and whose hand to shake.

He has nothing he wants to say about any potential opponents, either within the L.P. or outside it. "I'm not running against anyone, please," he says. "I'm standing here talking about life in America as I experience it, and that's all" his campaign is about. "I have nothing positive or negative to say about Trump, Hillary, [or any other] what's his name nobody [who might be his opponent in the Libertarian race]. Who gives a shit? I'm 73 years old, I may have seen something at a level of subtlety maybe you have not seen."

He fervently hopes the party and its voters will not think less of him or punish him if he can't actually show up to campaign at any convention or event on U.S. soil while he's on the lam, to accept his surrogates and "not expect me to risk absolute and certain arrest by forcing me to show up at debates."

Does he think being a (so far self-created) fugitive might be a plus to a Libertarian audience? "Is it not?" he snaps back. "Aren't we supposed to be standing up and risking things, putting ourselves on the fucking line" for freedom? "Well I'm doing it. Please God give me credit for that."

His campaign web page winningly admits that "since our insane government keeps massive secrets from us and is masterful at disinformation, there is not a single National issue that we know the true state of....So do not ask me about immigration, foreign relations, education etc. I have no idea. Those claiming that they do are lying to themselves, or if not, they are purposely lying to you."

He expanded on that point, after complaining that a U.S. consulate official in the Bahamas he just visited refused to even give McAfee his full name. "The bigger problem is we don't have a clue what our government is doing," he says. "Government keeps all these secrets while it gets all this information from us. How the fuck do I solve a problem I don't know the truth about? We have to solve that problem first."

"Let's not even talk about the Middle East. Do you speak Farsi? Neither do I. Do you understand the nuts and bolts and nuances of their religion, culture, history, political alliances? No. Yet you want me to solve their problems? Fuck that. Don't even ask me that question. It's rude."

McAfee seems aware this sort of talk isn't election-winning, and he wants you to know he knows and that it doesn't matter. "Libertarians are not going to get elected this year, maybe forever, and if we pretend we are we are fools in the eyes of those whose support we are trying to get. Questions like 'what are you going to do your first day in office?'" asked of Libertarian candidates in public shouldn't be answered seriously, he insists. "It makes me vomit. Serious people are watching us here. Please, God, get real with yourself."

He's running not for fun but, as he told me last time as well, out of a sense of duty toward America and the future. "I didn't want to run. I don't. But I do what I have to do. Good God, I have children and grandchildren and I have to do something, do I not? This time if I can stay ahead of the long arm of U.S. injustice, I will be able to say the truth. Please, God, wake up! I will tell you about government as I see it. My God, what has happened? America is not here anymore. I need to bring it back."

While at one time he was reputed to have a fortune of over $100 million, at this point he merely says "certainly for the next month I'm not going to starve" and that he anticipates that some sort of defense fund might be set up for him; "I have enough firm believers I don't think people will let me starve."

Videos from his boat featuring McAfee discussing many of these matters can be found on his Twitter feed. In the latest from last night, he says he is reading comments from others about how they have "never seen anyone livecast their evasion of U.S. authorities before. Why not? I have nothing to hide. With one exception: Me, the person, this body, and hiding it from those who want to collect it."

Elsewhere at Reason: McAfee on his inevitable victory in 2016, on realizing it might not be inevitable, and a feature profile on his fight for the nomination against Austin Petersen and winner Gary Johnson.

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  • Fancylad||

    Still the best libertarian campaign to date.

  • Just Say'n||

    Harry Browne has the sadz

    RIP

  • Rich||

    RIP, indeed. His books are classics.

  • Just Say'n||

    The last libertarian to run for president in the LP

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Badnarik wasn't too bad.

  • Just Say'n||

    Haha- I forgot about him.

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    So did everyone else.

  • Juice||

    He was ok, but he was too hung up on the constitution and he came across as a super nerd.

  • Yellow Tony||

    he came across as a super nerd.
    It's a shame because nerds are cool now, right?

  • Zeb||

    Saying you are a nerd is cool. Being a super nerd still isn't.

  • Agammamon||

    Only if they're also hot chicks who aren't nerds but wear fake glasses and shirts with pop-culture references on them.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Yeah, Brian always has the best articles.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Seriously, though, living on a boat is the most libertarian you can get. I am always surprised more hardcore libertarians don't go that route. I guess it takes a special mind to be comfortable on a boat over long periods of time.

  • Longtobefree||

    Yeah; the kind of mind that counts his money by the billions - - - - -

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    You can get a decent bluewater boat for $50,000.

  • ThomasD||

    And keeping it continually operational in bluewater will cost roughly how much annually?

  • Mcgoo95||

    It's pretty obvious he'll be hiding near Fiji trying to copulate with a humpback.

  • Bearded Spock||

    Once you go humpback, you'll never go back. There's a reason they used the word "hump" in the name.

    And don't forget sperm whales, either....

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Once you go dolphin, forever sore foreskin

  • Yellow Tony||

    I've heard it's worth it though. Raping a dolphin is poetic justice.

  • SQRLSY One||

    I knew this whale once, I thought she had the hots for me! Turned out, it was just a fluke!

    I have been sadly blubbering about it ever since!

  • Jayburd||

    Humpbacks have 4ft long tongues and can breathe through the top of their head.

  • Joe M||

    John McAfee is absolutely the president America deserves.

  • Tony||

    Just in case Trump is but the beginning of a trend of increasingly batshit crazy presidents?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Sanders-Cortez 2020!

  • Bearded Spock||

    Heck, why not Cortez-Sanders? Its not as if anyone in DC reads the Constitution anyway.

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Semi-serious question because I am too lazy for more than a quick persual:

    Article 2 requires the President be at least 35 years old, but I see no mention of how old the VP has to be. I'm sure some legal beagles have chimed in. Is it possible to have a VP younger than 35 years old? If so, what happens if the P leaves office?

    In short, would Sanders-Cortez be possible, and what would happen if Sanders were to resign on his first day? That would be a fascinating campaign.

  • gormadoc||

    I don't think the question has popped up as a practical matter, as the youngest VP was 36.

  • Careless||

    12th Amendment. VP has to be eligible. So she couldn't

  • a ab abc abcd abcde abcdef ahf||

    Last sentence, no wonder I skimmed right over it!

  • Dadlobby||

    She's too young to be President and the world is going to end before she'll be old enough. Sucks being her.

  • Don't look at me!||

    I anxiously await the day you yearn for the return of Trump.

  • BLPoG||

    I'd certainly vote for him before that sleazeball from Massachusetts.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    There are maybe a dozen people from MA who wouldn't be on that list.

  • Just Say'n||

    He could be guilty of murder and he would still be responsible for less deaths than Bill Weld. Crazy

  • Tony||

    Fewer.

  • Just Say'n||

    Well done, Tony

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Stannis is Tony's favorite GOT character. Well, second most favorite, after Loras.

  • Dadlobby||

    Less deaths than "Fewer" who?

  • Rich||

    Do you understand the nuts and bolts and nuances of their religion, culture, history, political alliances? No. Yet you want me to solve their problems? Fuck that.

    Now, *that* is straight talk.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    He's got my vote.

  • Just Say'n||

    Careful, he supported Ron Paul when the LP dis-invited him from speaking. May be too "paleo" for your taste. Best to just make excuses for Bill Weld when he runs

  • Just Say'n||

    I'm joking by the way

  • Chipper Morning Wood||

    Hey man, I volunteered for Ron Paul's campaign. Way back in 2007 when his staff was like five people and you had to walk through a convenience store to get to the campaign headquarters.

  • Just Say'n||

    They had a better office by me. My God, though, that campaign brought out an "eclectic" group of people. There was the Objectivist lawyer who just wanted us to watch old clips of Ayn Rand with Phil Donahue all the time. Then there was the forensic accountant who would come to the office straight from work in a suit and constantly high. And, of course, there was the guy who wanted Paul to win because he thought he would release government secrets about aliens.

    Good people. Except the Objectivist was starting to get on my nerves.

  • Just Say'n||

    "Have you accepted Ayn Rand as your lord and savior?"

  • Dillinger||

    love an outlaw living on a boat. love it.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Pirates?

  • Rich||

    He fervently hopes the party and its voters will not think less of him or punish him if he can't actually show up to campaign at any convention or event on U.S. soil

    It'd be nice if the candidates for the Rs and Ds did this too.

  • AlmightyJB||

    O Captain! My Captain!

  • DajjaI||

    Great example of how having too much money makes you miserable and unhinged. But hey, at least he's not a 'squishy republican'. He's someone Amash could really get behind.

  • awildseaking||

    Interesting logic, but not knowing the truth is no reason to not make your positions known.

  • Michael Suede||

    I am compelled to vote for him based on the epic trolling that would occur during a McAfee presidency.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    So we've moved on from a lazy candidate to a crazy candidate.

  • AlmightyJB||

    At least we know he won't shill for Hillary.

  • cuacasiansasquatch||

    and we wonder why the lp has trouble with legitimacy.

  • cuacasiansasquatch||

    and we wonder why people question the LPs legitimacy.

  • Just Say'n||

    I think legitimacy issues come up more often when the party says they believe in one thing but then the candidate says he believes the opposite in order to placate the status quo consensus. McAfee is outright rejecting the premise of the status quo position. Makes him more legitimate to me.

    If you want someone who's going to talk about reducing the cost of government and making it more efficient, rather than questioning the whole rationale of government action then why not just vote Republican?

  • cuacasiansasquatch||

    i guess what I'm questioning is that he will be broadcast as a libertarian potential candidate and yet is a fugitive. The LP has enough problems garnering legitimacy today, it/we don't need an international waters white house boat as another reason to laugh at.

  • Yellow Tony||

    Legitimacy means selling out your ideals. Libertarians will only be voted into office in small numbers, and they will never have the political capital to do anything significant. As it is, humans don't want what Libertarians are selling. They want a powerful state; they want to be able to tell others how to live.
    That is unless Stossel (GET INTO THE ROBOT SHINJI STOSSEL) or some other figure of dormant freedom power sacrifices himself.

  • Zeb||

    The LP isn't about to become a real political party.

    I don't really care what becomes of them. If they want to be the fically conservatve Republicans who smoke pot party, fine. I wish them luck. If they want to be the out there, pure libertarian thing, that's fine too. I would love to see more McAffee.

  • Rockabilly||

    YES!!!

  • T. Lord||

    About that volunteer signup on the "campaign" page: I filled out the form like a dummy, since sometimes I am one, and it took me to a site my mom would probably not think to register. ("https://whalefucker.com/")

    Is it (https://mcafee2020hq.com) a troll site or just a funny troll?

    If it's a troll *site,* then probably it shouldn't be linked without a note indicating the tongue-in-cheekness.

    If it's just a troll ... then well-played, Mr. McAfee ;)

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    He's a kook.

    He'll attract some other kooks.

    Then he will be brought to justice.

    That will bother some kooks.

    Kooks have rights, too.

    But not the right to evade reality.

  • Michael Palin's Buttplug||

    You seem to be doing a pretty good job of it.

  • chemjeff radical individualist||

    Oh good heavens.
    John, just go back to Belize already and stay there.

  • Eddy||

    Don't stop Belize-ing.

  • Zeb||

    Seems like he might have some legal problems there too.

  • ThomasD||

    Yeah, he burned that bridge. And there really aren't any other countries hospitable to McAfee that do not have an extradition treaty with the USA.

  • Yellow Tony||

    I know this isn't my dimension because McAfee didn't have to turn to the life of a sea-bound fugitive vagabond. As much I love Stossel, he needs to sacrifice himself in his mecha to bring wisdom to the American population so that McAfee and others can expel the fecal vomit in Washington like an enema.
    McAfee, man, I love you. Don't ever change.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    He ought to give up his presidential run and focus on sea steading.

    I miss Reason's sea steading articles.

  • mtrueman||

    "John McAfee, the cybersecurity founding father"

    It's pretty safe to say that anyone using his products is not secure. Windows, which his products augment, is full of flaws and backdoors like the auto update feature. Security was so important to the international space station, they switched to linux a while back. Thanks to a windows borne virus that infected on board computers.

  • Yellow Tony||

    Anti-virus software for any operating system is a scam. I can't remember the last time I had malware infect my Windows PC. If you lock down the biggest vector for infection, your web browser, and use Common Sense™ 2019, then bloat/spyware in the guise of security software becomes superfluous at best and a detriment at worst.
    With regards to the corporate setting, I'd imagine web filters, sane policy settings, and non-shit network security will do the job.

  • mtrueman||

    " I can't remember the last time I had malware infect my Windows PC. "

    Windows is malware. Anyone who is concerned about security should avoid it. The astronauts learned this the hard way.

  • BLPoG||

    The McAfee software suite has long since ceased having any connection to the man John McAfee.

    To get an idea of McAfee's opinion of the software, you might consider viewing this video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKgf5PaBzyg

  • Eddy||

    The tax-evasion stuff is to be expected from any standard-issue libertarian eccentric.

    The whale-sex stuff was a bit more of a surprise, but I guess I can deal with it.

    But he loses me when he wants to abolish the grand jury, leaving the average citizens totally out of the process of deciding who will face serious criminal charges.

    If grand jurors are manipulable by prosecutors, have you checked the FISA court judges recently?

    Mend grand juries, don't end them.

  • Eddy||

    Did I say "eccentric"? That's like calling the ocean somewhat moist.

  • Eddy||

    Eccentric is when you use a feather. Insane is when you use the whole chicken.

    Or is that the difference between kinky and perverted? I never remember.

  • Zeb||

    No. Eccentric is when you are insane and rich.

  • ThomasD||

    Yep, and if his politics had been more traditional he probably would have gotten away with the murder.

  • Eddy||

    By the way, consider Gilligan's Island - do you really think that an experienced tour-boat skipper would wreck a boat just because of some storm? That was just the cover story of the shipwreck - the real story is more interesting and more whale-related.

  • Echospinner||

    I have a whole theory about that.

    Nobody really wanted to get off the island.

    That was obvious, the professor could build a radio out of coconuts for goodness sake.

    Because none of them were who they pretended to be.

    Gilligan and the Skipper were a couple which is why they were no longer in the navy. In those days you could not live that way in public.

    The Howells were broke, Ginger was a failed actress, the professor was not a professor.

    Maryanne, still have a crush on her, she was hiding a dark secret from her past.

    The island was a libertarian paradise.

  • ThomasD||

    Where was the weed?

    And the Mexicans?

  • Echospinner||

    The natives who showed up from time to time were the Mexicans.

    Don't know about weed but pretty sure the professor had a still going somewhere.

    I need a life.

  • Echospinner||

    I think McAfee and his campaign idea are perfect.

    Look libertarians don't win because nobody really knows who we are and what we are talking about.

    Think of the publicity and press a campaign like that with the radical romantic boat story, the masked clones, the whole bitcoin murky dealings in exotic places. Wow. Think of the google hits and headlines.

    Politics has become a reality show, like it or not. I am on board. Might be the first campaign I actually would make an effort to support.

    I went with Giant Meteor last time.

  • newshutz||

    Sweet Meteor of Death had much more detailed policy proposals. I don't know anyone who voted for GMOD.

  • Echospinner||

    Everyone I pick loses

    If you want to make some money ask me who will win the NBA or next election and bet on the other guy.

  • Agammamon||

    You know what? I'ma going to vote for the man this time. What America needs is a batshit insane person in the Oval Office. Trump showed me that. Hell, I'll vote for Trump next time if I have to. Fuck his stance on immigration and open borders, its been hella entertaining to see the Progressive Left tearing into itself these last couple of years. 4-8 more years of that? Hell yeah.

    Heck, if we get lucky, Trump'll get another term and then McAfee will succeed him for another 8.

    Screw the 'dignity of the office' - that's what people like Nixon thought would protect them.

  • Agammamon||

    "The nice thing about a large boat is we can cruise anywhere, and pull in anywhere. We are flexible; the IRS is not. We are quick; the IRS is slow. We are well ahead of the curve, and the IRS are well behind it."

    Two weeks. I give him two weeks before the Coast Guard picks him up (or sinks him).

  • Echospinner||

    In two weeks we won't have a coast guard.

  • dangfitz||

    I'll be at the convention, voting for someone else.

  • Tionico||

    anyone casitng a vote for such creature may as well be casting it for Pinocchio or Donald Duck. If he can't show up and face the very people he will putatively serve, then what is he? How do we even know he is still alive, or maybe dead and a team of proxies are operating in his stead? HOW can he be held accountable as President if he's not even here?

    His taunting of Uncle Stupid is very likely to provoke them to adverse action. If he is on the high seas he is vulnerable to US operations. If he is in most ports, his whereabouts is known, and he is accessible. Satellite tracking can likely locate him, a US Navy chopper drop a few unwanted visitors aboard his boat wherever he is. If he is silly enough to fire upon them as they descend, they have things tha make bigger bangs that would make short work of even a 150 foot yacht.
    A sorry state of affairs, to be sure, but he'd be better off to put ashore somewhere by dinghy and disappear into the local woodwork. Deluded, he is.

    And I say all the above with absolutely no clue nor any judgement as to the rightness or validity of the government's "case" against him. I've seen plenty enough to question whether they are after justice instead of raw power and control.

  • Agammamon||

    All he has to do is make it to the swearing in. Really, not even that - that's a formality. All he has to do is wait until Jan 20th after he's been elected and then he's the head of state and can't be arrested. And then he pardons himself.

  • Cthulunotmyfriend||

    My biggest objection is that he very well may be a murderer, Not cool in my book.
    Plus the occasional random firing of guns whenever he gets paranoid.
    I know he is bat shit crazy and super entertaining, and I gotta admit I would love to hang out with him on is boat, have a beer, and shoot the shit...

  • Agammamon||

    What President hasn't been a murderer?

    Trump

    Obama

    Bush

    Clinton

    Bush

    Reagan

    I guess maybe Carter.

  • ThomasD||

    Given the specifics of what Carter ordered the hostage rescue team to do I'd say he's at least guilty of criminally negligent homicide if not outright murder.

  • Agammamon||

    I would love to hang out with him on is boat, have a beer, and shoot the shit...

    sssss, yeah, but the *implications*.

  • ||

    This guy is pretty entertaining, though I wouldn't want him as a neighbor (to put it mildly). It's difficult for me to see why anybody in the LP would take him seriously. Or is that the point?

  • Hank Phillips||

    Chief No-Nukes wanted to sign 2A-nullifying treaties with White Men from Soviet Altruria and still got the LP nomination. When it comes to being infiltrated by kooks looking for soapboxes, the LP is second to none.

  • Adina123||

    Why do all the LP candidates have to be so disqualifyingly weird? Weirdness works for a Portland slogan or a fun friendship, but it just discredits the whole libertarian movement.

  • Adina123||

    Oops I meant Austin not Portland, whatever, both want to be weird

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    "Keep Austin Weird" is basically NIMBY nonsense from the Californians, Oregonians, New Yorkers, etc that moved there in the last several years, and don't want new development that would support the influx of people just like them and ruin their quality of life with things like BBQ smoke and live music, which are the very things they moved to Austin to enjoy (supposedly). How are these straw people working for ya? Well this couple also now has a three year old child called Cilantro, or Gaia, or something like that, and they want to make Austin safe for the children! Who knows how a huge influx of outsiders could lead to increases in crime and poverty?!

    Basically what I'm saying is that Austin is kind of a microcosm of immigration wherein it's hardcore blue voters playing out the same thing on a city level rather than national.

  • posmoo||

    I heard this guy is a literal coprophagist. is that true? I don't generally have a problem with a little kink in my leaders but draw the line at kid/animal fucking, transgenders and shit eating.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    It's hard to separate fact from fiction when it comes to McAfee.

  • posmoo||

    a podcast I listen to often plays clips of the hispanic ladies he allegedly paid $ to shit in his mouth though. they seem highly credible.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    If it is, I don't want to know. I'll reserve judgment and say that, if a person was allegedly so desperate as to snatch up cash to shit in someone's mouth, they would potentially have also been desperate enough to take cash to lie about it, which could work either way. A little coaching makes "sit on his face" into "shit in his mouth" and the seeds of doubt are forever sown.

  • dchang0||

    If McAfee actually murdered someone, that's a massive violation of the Non-Aggression Principle.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Perhaps the victim was paid off to publicly state that McAfee had murdered him/her in an effort to discredit him.

  • Two Buck Chuck||

    Nothing says Libertarian like murdering your neighbor

  • Hank Phillips||

    And nothing says Republican like presumed guilty until the government's court says otherwise. That's the whole premise behind economy-destroying prohibitionist asset forfeiture!

  • Hank Phillips||

    I like McAfee, and the LP has definitely chosen goofier candidates in the past. But to stay on the Fisher-Price hockey-stick curve we need to earn law-changing spoiler votes. Bill Weld has demonstrated his ability to do just that.

  • Gary in Texas||

    I agree that this guy has no business being nominated by any party to be its candidate for president. But neither did an arrogant, racially prejudiced, America hating Marxist with a dodgy background, a blustering, badly behaving TV host, a slick, shifty, crooked Arkansas lawyer, or a famous man's inept and unprincipled son. There is no reason for members of the Libertarian Party to be embarrassed by having this guy as a candidate. They had the good sense not to nominate him, and probably will reject him again. The Republicans and Democrats cannot say the same for some of theirs.

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