Notorious computer hacker Kevin Mitnick has found himself a new gig, and the irony is so thick you could cut it with a knife: He'll be playing a CIA computer expert on an upcoming episode of ABC's spy thriller "Alias."
"It's just hilarious, the idea of playing a CIA agent with my history," says Mitnick. "I lived under aliases for years when I was a fugitive." Mitnick went underground for three years in the 1990s after being accused of breaking into the computer systems of several corporations, including Sun Microsystems Inc. and Motorola Inc. The law caught up with him in 1995, and he spent almost five years in prison. While in jail, his case became a cause celebre, as supporters complained that he was unfairly demonized and the government insisted he was a dangerous criminal.
Mitnick will appear in one scene of the Oct. 28 episode of "Alias," playing a CIA agent who has hacked into the network of evil organization SD-6. While filming the scene, Mitnick had to act with prop computers, since the terms of his supervised release prohibit him from possessing or using any kind of computer hardware.
"I hadn't acted before, and I thought it was a blast," says Mitnick. He's even considering pursuing more acting jobs in the future, particularly if they're in the same sort of "Mission Impossible" genre. His only complaint with the experience: The show's producers made him cut his long hair to a more conservative Fed-agent buzz cut.