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Undergound. Go to Table of Contents.



                     RESEARCHER'S INTRODUCTION



    "Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask,

    and he will tell you the truth" -- Oscar Wilde


    "What is essential is invisible to the eye" -- Antoine De Saint-Exupery


    "But, how do you *know* it happened like that?" -- Reader


    Due of the seamless nature of `Underground' this is a reasonable

    question to ask, although hints can be found at the back of the book in

    the Bibliography and Endnotes. The simple answer to this question is

    that we conducted over a hundred interviews and collected around 40,000

    pages of primary documentation; telephone intercepts, data intercepts,

    log-files, witness statements, confessions, judgements. Telephone dialog

    and on-line discussions are drawn directly from the latter. Every

    significant hacking incident mentioned in this book has reams of

    primary documentation behind it. System X included.


    The non-simple answer goes more like this:


    In chapter 4, Par, one of the principle subjects of this book, is being

    watched by the Secret Service. He's on the run. He's a wanted

    fugitive. He's hiding out with another hacker, Nibbler in a motel

    chalet, Black Mountain, North Carolina. The Secret Service move in.

    The incident is vital in explaining Par's life on the run and the

    nature of his interaction with the Secret Service. Yet, just before the

    final edits of this book were to go the publisher, all the pages

    relating to the Block Mountain incident were about to be pulled. Why?


    Suelette had flown to Tuscon Az where she spent three days

    interviewing Par. I had spent dozens of hours interviewing Par on

    the phone and on-line. Par gave both of us extraordinary access to

    his life. While Par displayed a high degree of paranoia about why

    events had unfolded in the manner they had, he was consistent,

    detailed and believable as to the events themselves. He showed

    very little blurring of these two realities, but we needed to show

    none at all.


    During Par's time on the run, the international computer underground

    was a small and strongly connected place. We had already

    co-incidentally interviewed half a dozen hackers he had communicated

    with at various times during his zig-zag flight across America. Suelette

    also spoke at length to his lead lawyer Richard Rosen, who, after

    getting the all-clear from Par, was kind enough to send us a copy of

    the legal brief.  We had logs of messages Par had written on

    underground BBS's. We had data intercepts of other hackers in

    conversation with Par. We had obtained various Secret Service documents

    and propriety security reports relating to Par's activities. I had

    extensively interviewed his Swiss girlfriend Theorem (who had also been

    involved with Electron and Pengo), and yes, she did have a melting

    French accent.


    Altogether we had an enormous amount of material on Par's activities,

    all of which was consistent with what Par had said during his

    interviews, but none of it, including Rosen's file, contained any

    reference to Black Mountain, NC. Rosen, Theorem and others had heard