John McAfee, the anti-virus software tycoon now wanted for questioning in the murder of his neighbor Gregory Faul, never fully denies his own paranoia, but the more he talks, the worse he makes the case for his clear-headed sanity. And he is certainly talking again. That's not a good thing when you're trying to convince the world that you're innocent in a murder for which the police are apparently trying to frame you. This tale has many uncertain assertions, but at this point one thing is clear: McAfee is a "complex and volatile person," as Wired's Joshua Davis puts it. Still, the more we hear from him, the less "complex" and the more unstable he sounds.
The latest insight into McAfee's complicated psychosis comes from Davis, who has maintained constant contact with McAfee before and after the charges, turning what was supposed to be a Wired feature into a 39-page ebook released last Friday. Davis has also posted audio of conversations with McAfee that he describes as "Bizarre Breaks From Reality." The 25- and six-minutes clips below are worth a listen. But to get an idea of how removed McAfee sounds from reality, listen carefully to how he describes various incidents in which large groups of Gang Suppression Unit officers come after him. Many of the circumstances sound unbelievable, like the time one of them walked out of the ocean in full SCUBA gear. And others have too-convenient details, like men disappearing as day breaks, or, possible witnesses (like his girlfriend) "sleeping through" raids. It doesn't quite add up, and he sounds "genuinely unhinged," to use Davis's words.
McAfee doesn't exactly deny that maybe his mind makes some of this stuff up. "The media has portrayed me as paranoid. I am a poor judge, since if I am paranoid, it is a paranoid mind judging itself," he wrote in a post yesterday on his bizzaro blog. McAfee has told Davis before that "I don't see myself as paranoid." But when put through the same logic stated above, it doesn't matter how he sees himself, does it? This paranoia also may or may not be the result of drug-related hallucinations. Following one of this incidents, in which he walked a building ledge—in the dark!—to escape the police on his neighbor's balcony, that neighbor, Chris Allnatt, told Davis he found a small plastic bag of powder near where he found McAfee the next morning. McAfee, however, has claimed to the press and Allnatt that he doesn't do drugs.
The question of what we're seeing in this case — McAfee's paranoia or the actual truth — is maybe the most important one, if only because every assertion he has made so far could very well have been made-up. And when you're wanted for questioning for the murder of someone and have denied any involvement, you kind of want all the credibility you can get. Right now, McAfee claims that this is all a police set-up to make him look like he killed his neighbors. Mental breaks like the ones above make it hard to believe that, even if it is true. As of right now, police don't have him as a prime suspect, just a "person of interest" wanted for questioning. The police have denied his claims that they plan to do more than that. Considering audio clips like the ones above, it's just hard to believe him.
While he doesn't deny the possibility of paranoia, McAfee has attempted to bring integrity to his theories, presenting audio "evidence" that the government is out to get him in a post on his blog called "Evidence vs Paranoia." He claims to have a former councilman on tape "trying to convince one of my employees to help the government kill me," he writes. The recording is in Creole and is very scratchy. To that first point, he says: "For the press – you can easily have this recording translated if you do not understand the words." He says he will release the other recordings over time. (Why not all at once now... ?)
Even if McAfee has the wrong idea about the police's intentions, that doesn't necessarily mean he killed his neighbor. Of course, nobody is quite saying he did. But it does put a certain perspective on assertions like this about the murder of Gregory Faull from Allnatt. "Almost certainly what happened there was he suggested it to somebody, and then one of his many Belizean hangers on probably took it upon himself to do John a favor," Allnatt says. "Because John surrounded himself with gang members. These are not nice people."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.