Ken Hechtman can look back on an eventful life. He enrolled as a freshman at Columbia University in New York in 1986 and founded his own gang just a year later. It was called AD HOC, which stands for Allied Destructive Hackers of Columbia, and its main occupation was sabotage and similar nonsense. Among other things, they shut down the electricity supply to buildings and destroyed the infrastructure of the university administration as well as various other facilities.
They also dug tunnels and stole what they could get their hands on: important documents, chemicals, anything that wasn’t nailed down. In his second year, while digging tunnels, he somehow came across uranium, more precisely the isotope 238 – the heaviest nuclide that occurs in large quantities in nature. Hechtman hoarded it in his dormitory together with pure caffeine and chemicals and was, of course, promptly expelled from university. So he then tried his luck as an anarchist and squatter on the Lower East Side.
Hechtman and Area 51
Despite his escapades, Hechtman was constantly obsessed with the need to uncover grievances. He broke into the Yucca Flat test site in Nevada and the Ethan Allen Firing Range in Vermont. But that was not enough for him, so he also snuck into the legendary Area 51 – a secret military research facility in the Nevada desert. After participating in the execution of the Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh, Hechtman’s dream came true. He became a freelance reporter and was allowed to work for various magazines.
This obviously encouraged him in his actions, as he arrived in Pakistan in 2001, shortly after 9/11. There, he conducted interviews with armed supporters of the Taliban before making his way to Afghanistan a few weeks later. Without a visa, of course. But then things suddenly got tight for the Canadian.
Becoming a Taliban Prisoner
Hechtman had barely officially become a reporter when the USA attacked the Taliban in Afghanistan. The terrorists believed him to be a spy who had revealed details from the interviews to the Americans. But two Canadian diplomats managed to convince the Taliban that Hechtman was only a reporter, which, as is well known, did not save many of his colleagues from execution.
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Nevertheless, his desire for journalistic adventures seemed to have disappeared. He moved on to politics, where he became an election campaign manager, before later returning to Montreal to study computer science. Today, Hechtman lives in Omaha, where he has turned his hobby, bricklaying, into his profession. He also seems to have found happiness in his private life, as he is now even married. Apparently he had done enough crazy things in his life.