updated 12:15 p.m. 18.Mar.99.PST
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Kid-Porn Vigilante Hacked Media Page 4
9:20 a.m. 8.Feb.99.PST
"They'd ask me, 'What's it like to study under Se7en?'" he recalled. "I'm not going to be belittled by someone who doesn't know what they're talking about."
Brian Martin said that he truly liked Valor, but he got tired of being lied to. Valor would brag about six-figure incomes and owning an NSX racing car. Anytime anyone was in the position to see it, however, the car would be conveniently out of action.
Martin finally added his old friend to his list of "charlatans" on a Web page tracking frauds on both sides of the hacker/media fence.
Then Rabey contacted the reporters who had done the initial profiles of Se7en.
"I'm ready to sing," she wrote in email.
When I asked Valor to provide the name of one person who had observed his attacks, he said he "often lives alone." Then he named Rabey as a witness. He also claimed that he hacked pedophiles' sites on camera for MSNBC.
Rabey says, however, that the TV hack was faked, and that the pictures Valor displayed to reporters were not child pornography from the Net, but snapshots of a former girlfriend.
When I confronted Valor with a mass of evidence that his tales of pedophiles "screaming the name 'Se7en' as they go down in flames" were unverifiable, he admitted that, after remotely deleting three or four files in a couple of nights of trolling around, he "didn't have too much success."
What he was doing, he said, "wasn't even really hacking."
He added, however, that after he posted his attitude-charged manifesto to a mailing list, "a lot of people went, 'This is great.' The media went nuts on this."
Valor had help in the self-promotion department. New Dimensions International has carved out a niche offering courses in Net security taught by those who know how to get around it.
Donna Schiefer, who manages systems security at an Air Force base in Ohio, praises NDI president Fred Villella for being "one of the pioneers who got the Air Force thinking outside of guns-gates-guards-badges security."
The page of instructors on the NDI site lists Valor as winning an American Legends award for his work battling online predators. That award, Villella explained, was "from a newspaper up in northern New York that was trying to buttress the idea of somebody doing something about child pornography."
Valor complains that Villella kept scheduling interviews even after he told him that he was tired of talking to the press.
"Reporters don't want to hear six sites," Valor said wearily. "They want to hear sixty."
Valor claimed that his career as a vigilante "did have its honest-intention roots." But once the press got the story, he said, "the media fed on itself."
The snowballing exaggeration became a kind of hack -- a media hack.
Now the would-be superhero just wants to teach his classes, settle down with his girlfriend, and buy a house.
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