back to article Home Secretary rejects McKinnon anti-extradition plea

The Home Secretary has rejected a request to rip up an extradition order against accused Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon. McKinnon was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome and solicitors for the Briton wrote to Jacqui Smith saying his medical condition ought to mean he should face criminal prosecution over his admitted hacking …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not saying the bloke should walk free but...

    It really gets my goat when UK Gov Plc won't fulfil extradition requests for or deport known terrorists because it's against their human rights but when it comes to a straight up white anglo saxon male they'll bend over backwards to throw him to the lions. One time immigrants fought to be treated the same as an Englishman (I know technically there's no such thing) soon the English will be fighting to be treated like immigrants.

  2. Jonathan

    Jacqui did as she was told

    The US said send him over here, and she said "Would you like gift wrapping with that?"

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    magna carter ???

    any clauses in that to protect the defendent from excessive (intended or unforseen) delays in arrest or bringing charges ????

    6 years does look to be a very excessive (intended) delay...

    so long that you could completly re-write your legal system and make any new laws retrospective even...... does this sound familier.

    William the Conquerer 4tw !

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Political appointees

    ...should have no business in judicial affairs.

  5. kain preacher


    Was his own doing. AS a yank I'm not going to get into the jurisdiction but what blows my mine is I've read cases were its clear cut that some is a terrorist and should be deported but it does not happen. No wonder people in the UK are pissed over this. I would think the goverment would be happy to get rid of scumbag. I mean if you commit a crime in country thats a crime any were else in the world and the penitently is torcher why am I suppose to feel bad for you.

  6. David Simpson

    Don't love the player but hate the game.....

    While i admit that extradition laws are biased toward America, they are biased because the terms of the bill of rights have so far stopped America enacting their half of the treaty in law.

    We don't have a bill of rights, I agree we should disagree with the terms of this action but don't defend McKinnon in the process.

    He is being extradited for a crime he has admitted to committing. He is an idiot, regardless of how undefended US networks were he new it was illegal to access them.

    I can climb a wall into council buildings nearby if i want to inspect their files for fear of a local UFO cover up but I know if i get caught i will go to jail no matter how easy a break in it was.

    We need a review of this treaty perhaps suspending it until America enacts their part of it, but for god sake let them ship McKinnon out before doing anything.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    US - UK Treaty

    Would people please stop peddling the nonsense that the treaty is one-way?

    The US ratified the thing two years ago -

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Only good Hacker is a DEAD Hacker

    Scumbag McKinnon doesn't deserve any special treatment. He should be prosecuted in the U.S. like every other scumbag criminal and then sentenced to 20 years in prison plus full restitution of all costs of investigation, prosecution and incarceration plus $100 M Euro fine.

    Personally I'd like to see him hung by his balls for a month after he does his 20 years in prison, but I could be satisfied if they used his thumbs instead.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "AS a yank I'm not going to get into the jurisdiction but what blows my mine is I've read cases were its clear cut that some is a terrorist and should be deported but it does not happen. No wonder people in the UK are pissed over this."

    We're not pissed over the delay, we're pissed that crimes are prosecuted in a jurisdiction out of our control and the transfer of the person is done by politicians.

    If they're so clear cut a terrorist why are we not prosecuting them?

  10. John Edwards
    Paris Hilton

    Pentagon Security

    McKinnon has done the people of the USA a considerable service by demonstrating the poor quality of Pentagon computer security. The responsible generals are naturally hopping mad. If a single individual, who is so inept that he cannot disguise his identity, can run riot through the Pentagon's computer network, just imagine what a potentially hostile government could do. Apart from not getting caught, that is. Now the poor beggar will get 20 to life when a $5.00 fine would be punishment enough.

    Paris because she could do me a considerable service. Not necessarily involving computers.

  11. Simon Painter

    @David Simpson

    So hang on... we are bound by a treaty that they are legally prevented from honouring? How is that a treaty? If I make a treaty with you to not stab you in the face if you don't do the same to me and then I stab you repeatedly in the face would you still stand there and take it?

    This is where we need a government with a pair of stones to stand up to this fucking stupidity. I don't care if he is innocent or guilty, I do object to him being shipped off to a country that has the death penalty when he could adequately be tried and serve his time here.

    Does the EU not have some rights on this related to extraditing to police states with capital punishment? Surely the right to a fair trial of his peers as stated in the Magna Carta should hold true if we had an ounce of sovereignty anymore.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He should go free

    David Simpson wrote "I can climb a wall into council buildings nearby if i want to inspect their files for fear of a local UFO cover up but I know if i get caught i will go to jail no matter how easy a break in it was."

    But if they leave the door open and you wander in for a look you are not committing a crime. This is the moral equivalent of McKinnon's actions. He didn't break in; the servers he "hacked" were using the default (i.e. no) administrator password. The virtual door was left open.

    I see no reason why he should be punished more hashly than someone physically entering an unlocked building. Which is to say, not punished at all.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    Building anology + UK-US Treaty


    OK, the door is open but there is a sign "Trespassers will be prosecuted" - he gets prosecuted even if the door was open

    UK-US treaty:

    AC points to the US embassy site - so the treaty was ratified but it's heavily biased in the US's favour. The US does not even recognise the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rulings:

    "has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction " - see the "Legal System" heading of the CIA web site

    You can get away with this one-sided bully-boy behaviour when you are the only superpower in the world, I guess England behaved similary in the 1700s.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    former superpower

    The US was a super power, now they are owned by China.

    Damn seppos, wanting to apply their laws to an offence

    committed in another country.

    This man should never be given to the US.

    Those that support extradition are assholes. Note how they plty the terrorism card, its a dead give away that they are cowardly little people, who care nothing for anyones rights.

    Thos who sacrifice liberty for security end up with neither.

  15. Anonymous Coward

    They should be thanking him

    He ran a comprehensive security audit on their crappy networks, pointed out all the gaping holes that real villains could, and probably did, exploit and all he gets for his efforts is shafted.

    Land of the free, home of the stupid.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    to the sound of "The The"

    and the song titled "Heartland" (circa 1986), with Matt Johnson's soulfull lyrics ....

    This is the 51st state of the USA.....

    This is the 51st state of the USA.....


  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Simon Painter/Anonymous Coward

    What doest the death penitentially have to do with this case ??

    Sorry to bust your bubble , but if you con some in foreign country from your home you can be extradite for that . There is no difference in this case.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When I Saw This Headline...

    I did a silent happy dance knowing that I'd have another rasher of whinging to read about how McKinnon's a folk hero and how all the governments are bad. So many knees jerking all about, so reliably. The McKinnon story has become the gift that keeps on giving.

    PS - I wonder if there's a government official or court of very last, no I mean really last, resort that McKinnon's solicitor hasn't tried yet?

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hackers serve the public interest...

    According to some, just as Bonny and Clyde taught us we needed better bank security, hackers serve the public by showing us we need better digital security, (sic), I guess we're suppose to ignore the crime in favor of the good deed of exposing security issues?

    With that kind of logic it's no wonder the world is in turmoil. What next, suicide bombers are good because they remove explosives from society?

  20. Steve

    @ kain preacher

    "What doest the death penitentially have to do with this case ??"

    We (supposedly) do not deport people if they are going to face the death penalty or torture. Cos, like.. civilization an' that. The few cases where this applies are nothing compared to the size of the overall prison population.

    "Sorry to bust your bubble , but if you con some in foreign country from your home you can be extradite for that . There is no difference in this case."

    That is only true if the two countries have an extradition treaty. If I trick you into posting $10 to me, no-one's going to extradite me.

  21. Daniel Wilkie


    I fail to see that the fact he's been diagnosed with AS has any effect on whether he's extradited or not to be honest. He was clearly aware of commiting the crime, so I don't think he could really use that as a recourse. I'm not the biggest fan of the UK-US extradition treaty but in this case I think it's more than justified.

  22. Mark

    re: Delay

    The delay was because at the time McKinnon wasn't doing anything illegal (the prosecution service declined to persue). At the time of the "offense" there was no extradition treaty. The crime wasn't a crime (no damages above $5000). At the time the crime was comitted here in the UK.

    And the UK didn't persue it.

    THEN the US wailed and cried and wet their bed.

    And still there's no criminal proceedings against the NUMBNUTS who put their highly sensitive machines on the internet with no or REALLY STUPID passwords on the PUBLIC INTERNET.

    Do they think REAL terrorists didn't get in? They weren't looking. They didn't fix it either.

  23. Mark

    re: He should go free

    More: the building looked like a public building. It was a council building and no guard and an open unlocked door.

    Unbeknownst to the member of the public who walked in, it was supposed to have been locked and there was supposed to be a special officer outside guarding, but they forgot to do that.

    So rather than own up to be fucking idiots, they sue this member of public for stealing state secrets and damaging the building (sorry, you can't see the damage, but trust us, it was enough to turn it from minor case into full blown criminal activity. really.).

  24. Geoff Mackenzie

    @AC 13th October 2008 23:45 GMT

    Not much point in clicking the 'anonymous' checkbox when your unique, personal style of illiteracy so clearly identifies you as kain preacher.

  25. scott

    Damage Multiplier

    It does annoy me immensely that Govts and companies can lose much more sensitive data on a weekly basis, and nobody gets even remotely threatened with "being fried" or banged up for 20 years.

    During our current "Times of War" (tm Bush Cheney Corp), surely leaving in the pub an unencrypted hard disk with the personal details of every serving and retired British serviceman is an act of gross misconduct which should be construed as giving aid to the enemy? You don't need much of an imagination to know what kidnapping/assassinating a gaggle of former generals & their families would do for the enemy's cause...

    If during WWII or Cold War, a War Ministry official had "accidentally" left a file with highly sensitive names and addresses on it; there would a good chance he'd either be swinging from the gallows - or at least doing life. Yet now, data losses on a massive scale hardly even merit 2 column inches buried near the TV section of the newspapers.

    Oh, and lets not bother mentioning the billions of physical dollars (as well as tons of military hardware) that have fallen into the hands of insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan due to sheer negligence and staggering incompetence of "Allied" personnel or their lackey contractors. Nobody is "being fried" or doing 20 in the pokey for that. Now, surely one would imagine that handing "terrrists" the monetary or physical means to substantially enhance their offensive capabilities would be considered more serious than a UFO geek taking a virtual wander around unsecured servers?? Do we see those responsible being locked up by the truckload??

    So, to those obviously braindead and brainwashed "he's guilty - send him to jail" brigade; who more rightly deserves extradition/long jail sentences?? The hacker who didn't remove a byte of sensitive data and only did as much "damage" as Patch Tuesday causes? Or the civil/military personnel who lose gigabytes on a regular basis?

    If that's too close to call for you, don't you think those who've given billions of hard currency and tons of hardware to known insurgents should be in line to go to jail *before* the guy who didn't remove a byte of sensitive data?? Or, taking the argument wider - how about raising extradition warrants on the members of a certain arab royal family who have been caught numerous times funding terrorist organisations and are known to visit the UK/Europe on shopping trips??

    "You can take a man to the pool of knowledge, but you can't make him think".

    It's cases like this that make me realise the planet really is controlled by idiots and for idiots.

  26. Alan Fisher

    Let's get this straight

    The issue here, as I see it is not whether this man is or is not guilty of a crime; he is and admitted it it quite freely.

    However the issue is the USA's keen-ness to extradite him and try him in their legal system. They need a goat to scape for their own inadequacies and failures, that simple. IF it had been a REAL terrorist, what then? WHAT IF a REAL terrorist stole plans for bases, addresses of key officials...launched ATTACKS or even stolen launch instead of hanging this, to be frank, mentally ill fellow in the clinker (Asperger's syndrome = Authism = (for the slower) that wot the Rain Man Had) they should have made absolutely certain the real villians, who by now know all about this, CANNOT get you a tenner and a trip to GITMO that they've done squat.....

    that's the issue my friends, not the guilt of McKinnon but the way this has been handled by Politicians

  27. This post has been deleted by its author

  28. Anonymous Coward

    @Would people please stop peddling the nonsense that the treaty is one-way?

    Just because it's been ratified doesn't mean it's not one-way.

    If the situation was reversed, do you really think the US would be handing him over?

  29. Wayland Sothcott Bronze badge

    Global Government

    Notice how more and more things are being done globally. From the smoking bans to the Bank Baleouts. We all break the law, there are so many of them. This means that if the government does not like you then they just arrest you for one of the many offences you have unwittingly comitted.

    This case is high profie test case. It will pave the way to a more streamlined system. They will alter some laws to make things run smoother in future.

  30. Alan Fisher

    Asperger's Syndrome

    Sufferers can often be paranoid, obsessive and, to varying degrees, spearated from what is normally considered to be reality and it's consequences

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    if i went into a building

    yes true trespass is a civil offence, but his trespass was virtual and the offence, such as it was, took place outside of the juristiction of the US courts. Where this leads, is where I feel you have commited an act in your country that would be an offence in mine, so I want to try you over here. ie stupid American Judges deciding to take over websites that aren't anything to do with the US. I will feel a lot better about all of this when a load of redneck inbreds get shipped over to Austria and Germany to serve time for the promotion of nazi propeganda.

  32. Dennis

    'There was no criminal intent'

    If this incident was investigated by the London Police they would have said 'There was no criminal intent' AKA no case to answer.

    Maybe McKinnon should hire BT Lawyers. They could get him off.

  33. Law
    Black Helicopters

    RE: Not saying the bloke should walk free but...

    I thought he was Scottish, not English? lol

    An Englishman, Scotsman, and an immigrant all hack into a US military computer to look for aliens. They get caught and extradition requests are sent, the Englishman is extradited without a fight and serves 20 years, the Scotsman puts up a bit of a fight but gets sent over there regardless and serves just 15 years, the immigrant just "goes missing" and eventually turns up 40 years later somewhere in Cuba, barely able to say his own name.

    Hilarious no?

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