First, to make it absolutely clear, this is not an official answer of any description merely what I think....
doubt that Khaled would ever put such a thing in mIRC. I also highly
doubt that if he ever did, it would remain undiscovered - with the millions of people that use mIRC I find it hard to believe that none of them would have discovered some sort of odd behaviour in mIRC and not informed the whole world of it. Look at the "Exploit" in 6.14
I'm sure Khaled would co-operate if necessary if such an organisation contacted him to certain limits. In myself (perhaps I'm too trusting?) I am 100% sure that Khaled has not done this to mIRC, and does not intend to - ever. Everyone knows he's a peace lovin' veggie (and I've spoken to people online who've met him IRL and they confirm this
) - doesn't sound like someone who'd do such a thing. mIRC is way too publiscised and popular to get away with such a "scam".
Whilst I'm sure the NYTimes themselves are a trustworthy source, I have no idea who "Mr. Bierman" is and from the description of "server software" it sounds more like he's an IRCd developer and not an IRC client developer. It would be easier (and probably more legal) to keep track of things that go through the server (such as private message queries, channel messages etc.) than it would be to get away with backdooring an IRC client.
I also believe it is illegal to infect an IRC client (or any program) with something which would break privacy laws, although I hope that doesn't spark some law debate whereby people quote the jurisdiction of all these different countries and the "Rights of privacy" on the Internet etc. etc. etc....and despite the media hype which has made the FBI out to be some sort of top secret terrible organisation that are all cloak and dagger (re: X-Files) I'm sure a lot of the departments are very average and have very few resources to cover any sort of crime up and many, many restraints. Not saying such organisations don't hold any secrets, we all know they do (i.e. CIA, KGB, MI5/6 etc.) but I highly doubt it relates to this
So, as the FBI are there to uphold the law, they probably wouldn't break it to do so - as if it was ever uncovered (and with such reports as this it would be/has been) it couldn't go to court in most countries. Speaking of, you have the whole debate abour IRC being a global activity and different countries having different laws, and the FBI having absolutely no jurisdiction over what goes on in them....the whole discussion could go on and on like an energizer bunny (and probably will do) but it's all been said before. </rant>
My 2 cents.
P.S. As I doubt you typo'd 3 times, you might like to know his name is Khale