Posted in Blog Archive

Posted by abeodbart July 31, 2009 at 10:21 am

UK hacker Gary McKinnon has lost his latest High Court bid to avoid extradition to the United States. US authorities want to try the 43-year-old, from Wood Green, north London, for breaking into US military and Nasa computers in 2001 and 2002. Mr McKinnon admits hacking, but denies it was malicious or that he caused damage costing $800,000.(yeh right! – PD)

He had challenged refusals by the home secretary and director of public prosecutions to try him in the UK. Glasgow-born Mr McKinnon had asked the court to rule on whether the CPS was right to say he could not be prosecuted in the UK, and and also whether his Asperger’s Syndrome meant he could not be extradited to the US.

He faces up to 70 years in prison if convicted in the US of what prosecutors have called “the biggest military computer hack of all time”. Ahead of the decision, his mother, Janis Sharp, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme they were “fighting for Gary’s life”.In total, Mr McKinnon accessed 97 government computers belonging to organisations including the US Navy and Nasa.

He has always insisted he was looking for classified documents on UFOs which he believed the US authorities had suppressed. In February the Crown Prosecution Service refused to bring charges against Mr McKinnon in the UK. The decision followed a ruling last October by then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to allow his extradition.

Mr McKinnon has already appealed unsuccessfully to the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights and his latest judicial reviews in the High Court are likely to be his last chance. His lawyers say the authorities have not given proper consideration to his Asperger’s Syndrome, which could have “disastrous consequences,” including suicide, if he was to be extradited. They argued he was “eccentric” rather than malicious and should be tried on lesser charges in the UK to protect his mental health.


July 31, 2009 at 10:37 am

Ouch 70 years?! I mean I know he shouldn’t have done it, but 70 yrs is a bit harsh!

July 31, 2009 at 11:23 am
Man With a Very Hot Bladder says:

It is obvious that they are out to make an example of Gary. 70 years would be a ludicrous sentence for a minor crime such as this.

July 31, 2009 at 11:43 am
flapjack says:

Surely having asperger’s syndrome should be taken as a mitigating factor? 70 years for a selective learning disability is a bit steep… supervision orders and restricted access to computer equipment would be a reasonable compromise IMO.

July 31, 2009 at 12:09 pm
Berber Anna says:

flapjack: Agreed, though I wouldn’t call Asperger’s a learning disability… it’s a neurological disorder (or developmental disorder, if you will), but personally, I associate learning disability with academic problems, and neither me nor any of the other people with AS I know have those 😉
But yeah, I think it’s not very reasonable to put him into the American prison system for any length of time — he’d not survive that, I’m sure.

July 31, 2009 at 12:17 pm
Gewitternacht says:

I am not into aliens and UFOs etc, but if this guy ends up getting a long sentence, I’ll take that as evidence that they really do have classified information on UFOs…

July 31, 2009 at 12:46 pm
Paul B says:

Whilst I do think 70 years is a bit harsh, I also can’t help but think that he did know that what he was doing was wrong – someone with the technical ability to do what he did must know that what he was attempting is fundementally illegal.

I also don’t quite understand his defence that he was looking for documents on UFO’s (unless he is playing the defence that this clearly makes him mentally unstable! :) ) – irrrespective of whatever the documents are, if the government deeps them secret, he’s breaking the law by attempting to access them – wether it’s details of UFO’s, military aircraft or undercover agents.

Paul B

July 31, 2009 at 1:18 pm
Berber Anna says:

Paul B: According to an article I read, he believed that the US government was hiding information on free energy technology gained from UFOs. He reasoned that hiding such things is unconstitutional, and that if the US government was breaking the law, it was his duty to prove that. Kind of a vigilante idea. Basically, he knew he was breaking the law, but because they were (in his mind) doing so too (and in a worse way), he thought his actions were justified and would never be prosecuted.
Nice stack of delusional ideas, hm?

July 31, 2009 at 1:53 pm
Pete says:

The length of the sentence sounds like it has more to do with revenge and deterrence than it has to do with justice and rehabilitation.

July 31, 2009 at 1:57 pm
roz says:

whoa! 97 computers??

not to worry. they’re not gonna put this guy in jail…they’re gonna make him an indentured servant!

July 31, 2009 at 7:21 pm
Ms G says:

70 years is rediculous. Just because it is nasa and government pc’s … A couple of years at the max. I myself dont see what damage is done, where these costs come from. People get less for way worse crimes. Way less. Unless there are reasons to suspect this guy from spying for other countries or such.
I really would like to know what type of information the guy had gotten to .. I have the feeling they turn this into a huge thing … And why he could not stay in the UK? Geeeezzzz …. And can they swear … that they theirselves don’t do it all the time … snoop around in other people’s private business …

August 1, 2009 at 1:27 am
ReliegiousMarie says:

Scare tactics….they want to set an example for hackers i guess…

August 1, 2009 at 4:41 am
Vern says:

Remember, folks. It’s UP TO 70 years. That’s the maximum penalty under the law. Worst case scenario. That is, if they found that he was doing this for the purposes of spying. Compromising a country’s military secrets is a VERY serious offense. It puts lives in jeopardy on an unimaginable scale.

Assuming they find he was operating under the nutty idea that he was looking for UFO information, he’s bound to get a more lenient sentence. Still, he would have been fully aware there were repurcussions to compromising U.S. national security and chosen to continue regardless. So relax. He’ll get what he deserves.

August 1, 2009 at 5:46 am
Jack Yan says:

Shame on the MPs, too, who sent this young lad to the wolves, instead of looking out for the rights of a British subject.

August 2, 2009 at 8:43 am
L Ron Hubbard says:

Here is an interview with Gary. It’s quite long, but the first 3 minutes says it all

Watch and make up your own mind whether this is someone who acted maliciously.

September 16, 2009 at 12:03 am
Joe Pendragon says:

Just read this post. Thanks for high-lighting Gary McKinnon’s plight.


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