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Impetus gathers to block extradition of UFO hacker Gary McKinnon

13 November 2009

A group of MPs have voiced their opinion that the extradition to the US of self-confessed UFO hacker Gary McKinnon should be halted - and that he should stand trail in the UK - owing to the "precarious state of (his) mental health".

The Home Office, however, appears to be standing firm, claiming that there is no imbalance in the UK-US extradition treaty and no need for a review.

As reported previously by Infosecurity, the 43-year-old UFO hacker McKinnon is alleged to have gained unauthorised access to the Pentagon's military networks in a bid to discover evidence of the existence of alien life and UFOs.

McKinnon's lawyers have argued many times that extraditing their client would lead to "disastrous consequences" for the health of the UFO hacker, including possible psychosis and suicide.

It now transpires that a House of Commons committee is conducting an inquiry into the US-UK extradition treaty, which critics say does not treat American and British citizens equally.

In a just-published letter from committee chairman Keith Vaz to Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, Vaz said the MPs had received "clear, legal opinion" from two lawyers that the home secretary had greater scope to exercise his discretion in UFO hacker McKinnon's case than the minister believed.

The letter urged the Home Secretary to comprehensively review the operation of US-UK extraditions and exercise discretion in the case of Gary McKinnon.

The letter adds that there is a serious lack of equality in the way the extradition treaty deals with UK citizens compared with that of US citizens.

In a carefully worded statement, however, the Home Office said there is no imbalance in the extradition arrangements between the UK and the US.

"As the Home Secretary told the Home Affairs Select Committee on Tuesday, the evidence that must be provided for a US extradition request to proceed in the UK is in practice the same as for a UK request to proceed in the US", said the statement.

"The suggestion that the operation of the Extradition Act needs to be reviewed comprehensively is unnecessary", it added.

A slight glimmer of hope is in the statement in that it says that the Home Secretary is looking at new medical evidence on McKinnon, which Alan Johnson has said he will consider very carefully before approving extradition.

Infosecurity notes that this is a curious comment to make, as it was the previous Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, who formally approved the UFO hacker's extradition.

Johnson's statement adds that he intends to give McKinnon's lawyers time to examine medical reports and make legal representations to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

"Unless the evidence shows that extradition would breach the European Convention on Human Rights it would be unlawful to refuse extradition", said the statement.

This article is featured in:
Compliance and Policy  •  Internet and Network Security  •  Public Sector

 

Comments

Nick Vachon says:

13 November 2009
McKinnon only showed the world how easy it is the break into the US government computers. Chances are, terrorists have been doing the same thing for years. They just aren't stupid enough to get caught. I expressed my opinion at http://www.thespoof.com/news/spoof.cfm?headline=s3i61251

Just Mike says:

13 November 2009
I have followed this story a while now, out of morbid curiousity and amazement at the misguided focus of the US government. It seems ridculous that extradition is even being considered.

What ever happened to the "punishment fitting the crime"?, Or no "cruel & unusual punishment"? Despite this fella's age, his actions were tantamount to a teenage prank of ding-dong-ditch or a silly crank phone call.

What is the intense seriousness of this situation??, ....I mean,....unless there really IS something for the military & NASA to hide with respect to UFO records and documentation. It's not like he is hiding the secret location of some terrorist avowed to destroy the USA or passing plutonium to the Iranians. All he did was embarass a few big shots, and point out the emperor is not wearing any clothes.

Once it was realized that he accessed stuff stored in thier woefully unprotected computer systems, they should have given him a whistle-blower cash reward, and then had an inquiry into the negligence of whoever was responsible for that security link....computer security....on the basis of legitimately improving national security. Might as well bust a guy and lock him up for life for stealing, if he finds a $20 bill on the street and pockets it. If they don't protect "sensitive" computers better than that, it is an attractive nuisance....like a pool with no fence around it. Crazy!

If a 70 year sentence is considered "just" for this matter, then our leaders have lost thier bloody minds and the justice system has lost all sense of balance and proportion.

Why not just save every taxpayer a few bucks, and see if the guy will cop a plea, and agree to be sentenced to washing the vehicles in the motor pool at a US base in Britain for a month? That way, the punishment WILL fit,...the prank will not go unpunished or be officailly condoned, ...a few (million) people like me may actually retain a little trust in our government, and some soldiers will get a much deserved break from the tedious chore of washing Humvee's. Not only will the military vehicles look a little better, but with a base full of soldiers keeping an eye on him, I doubt GK will demonstrate that he is, in reality, a danger to national security.

Get real. If this flies, then the power of government is wildly out of control and clearly dangerous to just plain people everywhere. Next they will be executing anyone who has a scavenger hunt, or flogging at the post school kids for believing in Santa Claus.

I say quit wasting our money on this obvious persecution of a fall guy. Focus on some REAL problems, or expect to get voted out of office in favor of a sane leadership.

P.S. GK was searching for evidence of what half the world believes is a fact...UFO's. Since when is seeking the truth the same thing as endangering national security? And by the way, the computer system at subway sandwich shops can't be hacked into with a 56 K modem for crying out loud!

Rhode Island Jim says:

13 November 2009
In my opinion - Gary McKinnon, should be hired by someone and whoever is the top dog, in charge of Internet/computer security at the White House is the one who should be locked up. This guy Gary McKinnon did everything from his home - how can anyone with any brains, be blaming him? What are they going to do, slap him and take away his keyboard? Anything I do in my own house, is perfectly legal - screw the governments anywhere, telling me what I can and cannot do in my own home! What the heck am I talking about, using brains and someone in charge of security at the White House, in nearly the same breath?

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