Oct 14 2001

(U) Replacement column

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(U) First, I want to thank the three uniformed federal police who visited me in the middle of the night. I appreciate the fact they knocked politely and never drew their guns.

As read by the author (MP3)

(U) Second, let me offer a note of thanks to the plainclothes federal agent who interviewed me. I appreciate the fact he didn’t haul me off to an interrogation room.

(U) Third, I want to thank the antivirus vendor who helped put this ball in motion. An embarrassing column about them will never see the light of day for {ahem} “national security reasons.” The war against cyber-terrorism requires utmost secrecy. Or at least that’s what I hear.

(U) A Vmyths column about an embarrassed antivirus vendor will never see the light of day — for “national security reasons.”

(U) Yes yes yes, I know embarrassment shouldn’t justify national security protection, but things changed in the computer security world on 11 September. Our country needs action right now, not criticism. Or at least that’s what I hear. America cannot afford to lose any more faith in the antivirus industry — because only they can save us from Osama bin Virus. (You think the U.S. military can protect our computers? Don’t make me laugh.)

(U) You win some, you lose some. I lost a column; the antivirus vendor saved face.

(U) An absolutely true story, by the way. I’d gladly tell you one extra detail which takes me down a notch in this farce — but telling you would likewise harm national security. So, ta da! This replacement column makes me look positively great and makes the antivirus vendor looks embarrassingly bad.

(U) Purely by coincidence, editor-at-large George C. Smith asked for a special Tips@Vmyths.com email address. Anything you send to it will go to at least two of us here at Vmyths. Your tips & rumors will always reach at least one person who never signed an “SF 312″ document. I once signed such a document — and Smith feared someone might try to use it against me.

(U) Your tips & rumors will remain anonymous, as always. An “SF 312″ doesn’t force me to reveal my sources & methods. It only affects my ability to report on the global antivirus industry’s influence over U.S. national security. The document I signed doesn’t censor anyone else around here.

(U) Let me repeat: we set up Tips@Vmyths.com purely by coincidence. What happened to me simply validates one of Smith’s many concerns.