This John McAfee saga sure is a nail-biter. Just when you thought the crazy bath salt aficionado couldn't get any more perplexing, McAfee revealed that he's seeking political asylum in Guatemala. He's hired a lawyer, too. And not just any lawyer. McAfee is being represented by former Guatemalan Attorney General Telésforo Guerra who also happens to be his girlfriend's uncle. The curious details just keep stacking up from there.
Let's start with McAfee's hasty and highly secretive exit from Belize, where he's wanted for questioning in the murder of fellow American ex-pat Gregory Faull. Four days ago, McAfee wrote on his blog that his "options are diminishing" -- though the post's title, "The closing trap," said as much -- before disappearing entirely, save one quick post about somebody poisoning his dog. At some point, a McAfee double carrying a North Korean passport evidently headed north through Mexico, though that's not been confirmed. The 67-year-old former software entrepreneur resurfaced on Monday with two VICE journalists in tow. They didn't say where, but VICE accidentally included the GPS coordinates in the metadata of a photo the magazine posted online. They were in Guatemala and, according to the teaser that VICE just posted online, having a great time.
Now it's time to get serious. McAfee initially claimed that the location in the VICE photo metadata was a trick to throw off the bounty hunters he thinks are looking for him but came clean not long after that. Press gathered in Guatemala City to find McAfee in a suit and tie, fancy lawyer in tow, answering questions. "We are applying for political asylum" is really the only quote you need to know. Alongside his new fight for asylum, McAfee says that he's willing to answer to Belizean police's questions over the phone offered to meet Belize's prime minister Dean Barrow in a neutral country to reveal the alleged corruption that's keeping him from turning himself in. There's no word yet on Barrow's response.
But should we really expect a response? The story of McAfee both before and after he was implicated in Faull's murder is, conservatively speaking, bizarre. On the lam, the misplaced American appears to be lost in a labyrinth of lies, though his obvious paranoia shows that he's on some sort of path. It certainly doesn't help his case for asylum or innocence in the Faull case that he's done a little bit of jail time in Belize, after police found seven pump-action shotguns, two 9-mm pistols and a single-action gun at his beachside compound. It was probably with one of these guns that he killed four of Faull's dogs and tried to make it look like they were poisoned. (Pro-tip: Poison typically doesn't leave holes in animals.)
In a way, we expect the new era of McAfee's life on the lam to be somewhat more subdued than what we've seen. He does have to convince the Guatemalan government that he's worth of asylum status, after all. In the meantime, we wish good luck to all of the screenwriters out there, hoping to get their big break with the screen version of this whole affair. We're thinking Daniel Day Lewis is a dead ringer for McAfee. But DDL is a dead ringer for anybody, when he sets his mind to it, isn't he?
Disclosure: I also work as an editor at VICE's technology blog, Motherboard.