"A surprising number of governments are now deploying their own custom malware and the end result could be chaos for the rest of us, F-Secure's malware chief Mikko Hypponen told the TrustyCon ( https://www.trustycon.org/ ) conference in San Francisco on Thursday.
'Governments writing viruses: today we sort of take that for granted but 10 years ago that would have been science fiction,' he told the public conference. 'If someone had come to me ten years ago and told me that by 2014 it will be commonplace for democratic Western governments to write viruses and actively deploy them against other governments, even friendly governments, I would have thought it was a movie plot. But that's exactly where we are today.'
http://www.scmagazine.com/trustycon-malware-expert -mikko-hypponen-kicks-off-conference-on-trust/arti cle/336089/"
probably, but i doubt most linux users would review kernel source changes before updating, so if torvalds opted to insert some kind of remote exploit into the kernel (thanks to some friendly "enhanced interrogation" techniques) most would have no idea. a lot would, particularly the core kernel devs, but no doubt they would be targeted too in that scenario.