Hacker McKinnon to fight extradition

August 3rd, 2008 - 2:38 am ICT by Bupha Ravirot  

Gary McKinnon, 42 Glasgow-born convicted of accessing 97 US military and Nasa computers and avoiding extradition by heading for Europe.

February 2001 and March 2002 he was alleged to gain unauthorized entry to 97 computers belonging to the US army, navy, air force and Nasa, and scanned another 73,000 computer systems hoping to enter them as well. They further allege he caused £350,000 worth of damage.

Gary McKinnon has admitted in a police interview of breaking into the computers from his home but he claimed that he was seeking for information on UFOs and he denied causing damage.

According to Five law lords, in the UK’s highest court, decided that a plea bargain offered to McKinnon by US officials was not coercive and an abuse of the extradition process. McKinnon, an unemployed systems administrator, now faces extradition to the US and charges that carry a penalty of up to 60 years.

He is disappointed in his own country. Mr McKinnon, now living in north London, told that he was “pretty broken up” by the Law Lords’ ruling, although he had expected the outcome.

“It felt like a moral crusade,” he said.

“I’m extremely sorry I did it, but I think the reaction is completely overstated. I should face a penalty in Britain and I’d gladly do my time here,” he said.

“To go from, you know, perhaps a year or two in a British jail to 60 years in an American prison is ridiculous.”

Solicitors said Mr McKinnon was “neither a terrorist nor a terrorist sympathiser, his case could have been properly dealt with by our own prosecuting authorities. We believe that the British government declined to prosecute him to enable the US government to make an example of him”

“American officials involved in this case have stated that they want to see him ‘fry’.

“The consequences he faces if extradited are both disproportionate and intolerable”

Time Line

1999 - Gary McKinnon starts searching for evidence that the US government is hiding knowledge of extra-terrestrial beings and technology.

February 2001 to March 2002 - US officials discover and track McKinnon’s hacking activities.

9 September 2001 - Terrorists crash aeroplanes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

November 2002 - US officials indict McKinnon National High Tech Crime Unit police arrest McKinnon.

8 June 2005 - McKinnon bailed by Bow Street magistrates’ court.

27 July 2005 - Extradition hearing scheduled.

14 February 2006 - Bow Street magistrate’s court starts McKinnon’s extradition hearing.

10 May 2006 - Judge agrees to extradite McKinnon.

4 July 2006 - Home Secretary John Reid agrees to extradite McKinnon.

3 April 2007 - McKinnon loses High Court appeal against extradition decision.

31 July 2007 - Law Lords agree to hear whether the US was coercive in seeking a plea bargain deal that required McKinnon to give up his right to an extradition hearing.

17 June 2008 - Law Lords hear argument.

30 July 2008 - Law Lords decide for/against McKinnon.

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