back to article McKinnon suffers further legal setback in extradition fight

Gary McKinnon has suffered another legal setback in his fight against extradition to the US on hacking charges. The accused hacker has been refused a written judicial review of the Home Secretary's decision not to suspend extradition proceedings in light of his recent diagnosis with Asperger's Syndrome. McKinnon's lawyer, …


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  1. Matthew Anderson


    Some people do bloody stupid things. It's even easier to do bloody stupid things when you are faced with a computer monitor & keyboard. I think we can safely say he will not be doing any more bloody stupid things.

    Will putting him in some nasty American jail act as a deterrent to him doing bloody stupid things in the future? I fear not, by doing this he is likely to come out angry and ready to do more bloody stupid things whilst taking care not to get caught. However putting him in jail over here for a short period of time will be far and above enough punishment to stop him from doing bloody stupid things in the future. I should imagine the hell he has gone through in the past few years is enough.

    I have seen from posts on previous articles that the heartless lot here believe he did the crime so should serve the time and although this may be true he should be serving that time here. Would we send someone to Saudi to get flogged or Iran for a stoning? No. So why are we sending someone to a country where we know the prisons are harsh and we know he will get a long drawn out jail sentence not warranted for a non violent crime?

    Justice should be served by our countries laws. He is a UK citizen and a such we should get to decide what punishment is fitting for our people.

  2. Anonymous Coward


    Just another excuse for a bunch of misanthropic trolls to post messages of hate...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Stupid....

    His extradition and impending jail sentance is not to fix his broken ways and re-introduce him into the community a better person, like prison in the UK.

    Oh, no, no, no my friend, the American penal system has a completley different outlook.

    He's being made an example of to show the casual hackers of the world that America won't stand for any of this kind of shit, and if you want to try it, you'd better get used to the "penal" systems of US Jails.

    It's such a bad thing to be made an example of anything, UK government obviously supports this or they would not allow it. I wouldn't want to be in McKinnon's shoes, he's just a pawn for both Governments to use as they like.

  4. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Keeping things Simple

    The message is clear enough to even the "slowest" of brains ..... if you have dirty little secrets which you would rather keep to yourself, do not share them with computers connected to CyberSpace and Virtual Webs, for there is no such thing there as Security, either Personal or Corporate .

    In other words, in words of no syllables, which surely all can follow ..... DOD UFO ...... and play your dumb Military Games elsewhere.

    Change your Script/Employ Beta Special Services from Virtualised Servers if you want to Justify Future Porking.

  5. Will Leamon


    Given how you feel I would strongly encourage you to petition your government to void or renege on the extradition policies that they have committed to. The US would of course have to do the same but I don't think that should concern you.

    I think the McKinnon protest has focused far too much on one particular case and not on the broader issue that the States, through previous agreements, has every right to extradite him. Therefore he has lost every single appeal filed on his behalf.

    Secondly if you truly feel that US prisons are far worse than England's it seems you have Human Rights complaints against the States as well. You should definitely bring that up with your government officials as well.

  6. davcefai


    IIRC The US has not ratified the treaty under which McKinnon can be extradited to the US. So in a reciprocal case a US cracker could thumb his nose at the UK Gov.

    I love the way that when the US says frog the Labour Government doesn't even ask "How high". It just jumps as high as possible.

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Apart from the jail issue

    Quite independently from the actual jail issue (which has already been commented to death and is, as mentioned, in the hands of politicos and out of the hands of Justice anyways), I would rather like this trial to start in order for McKinnon to demonstrate officially just how easy it was for him to become "the biggest military hacker of all time".

    Seems to me that his is as big as Saddams' army was the 3rd most powerful.

    I'd like to see just how dangerous he was supposed to be.

    Of course, I'm expecting that trial to be public.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think they

    ... should jail the people who were to dumb to secure their systems

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time to get in touch with reality

    More effort and fanboyism has been wasted on scumbag Gary McKinnon than he is worth. The guy did the crime and now it's time to be held accountable for his crimes in the U.S. where he committed the crimes. Hopefully this will be a good leasson for other scumbag hackers to take note of. Personally I'd prefer to see him sent to Pakistan and executed, based on Pakistani hacking laws. He's getting off easy coming to the U.S. to serve his sentence.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Apart from the jail issue

    As far as I understand, albeit unofficially. Allegedly, McKinnon simply scanned US Military subnets for windows boxes with blank admin passwords that were fully exposed to the internet (i know, i know). It is then alleged that he remotely installed commercially availiable remote control / remote admin software and there you go, allegedly . It was only when inside the systems that his blundering about like a bull in a china shop causing the damage that has caused the upset.....allegedly......from his own house!.....allegedly.

  11. Nursing A Semi


    So at a cost of several hundred thousand "or is it millions now" the UK tax payer gets to fund a 3 year legal battle, now we should pay the costs associated with making him somebodies bitch for several years?

    Afraid from my perspective we should be billing the US for the legal costs and letting them put him up in their own high security pink palaces.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC Time to get in touch with reality

    "Personally I'd prefer to see him sent to Pakistan and executed"

    Quite the voice of peace and love, aren't you? It seems to be you who's out of touch with reality if you think that's a reasonable punishment.

    You really are a poor excuse for a human. I pity your poor country for having somebody like you for a citizen. I expect you're not particularly popular there either.

  13. Matthew Joyce

    Virtual time

    Personally I have extreme problems with the fact that the relevant UK officials are willing to physically extradite the man despite him never having set foot out of the country at the time. I'd've asked for an online trial (with translation software) and to serve my time at home logged into a virtual jail cell ...

    It also disturbs me there's been no evidence offered publically of the actual nature of the 'damages' beyond a convenient dollar figure - it's rather reminiscent of a filesharing case claiming equally massive 'damages' in lieu of something that didn't happen.

  14. Frumious Bandersnatch

    @Pascal Monett

    Indeed. Calling him a "hacker" is definitely an over-statement. Writing a script to do a dictionary search for passwords is something that any half-way competent scripter could write in 20 minutes. A true "hacker" (quotes because "cracker" is really a more appropriate word for what we're describing) has the skills to do such things as write effective worms and viruses, plant backdoors, cover their tracks, exploit buffer overflows, analyse systems for weaknesses, etc. Gary's MO shows him to be a complete novice in any of these "dark arts". He is definitely not an uber-leet hacker/cracker. To use an analogy, if he were a car thief, he'd have been done for driving away in cars that had been left open with the keys in the ignition. That just about sums up his level of "hacking" skills.

    One sad thing (besides reading all the "hang him" type of comments here) is that even if he does get a hefty sentence to serve as an example to other "hackers" it will serve as zero disincentive to the real crackers out there because they know how woefully inept his "mad skillz" are. That is, it will do nothing at all to deter *real* criminals.

  15. Mark

    re: Virtual time

    Ha! Banged up in Second Life?!

    Like it!

    "You are condemned to four years hard labour farming for my Son in WoW!".


  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The bar has been set lower

    So if an Aussie that sets up web site in his home country lands in the UK and gets arrested for a crime that happened in Germany ( the Germans can even provide the web site) and faces extradition hearing, what do you expect ??

    Not trying to be an ass but seems like the UK is willing to hand any one over to any country that asks.

  17. Gareth Jones Silver badge


    " I think we can safely say he will not be doing any more bloody stupid things."

    A standard arguement against jail and a right load of bollocks. Of course if he avoids extradition and jail then he will realise that he can do bloody stupid things and get away with it and will, therefore, be likely to do further bloody stupid things with the reasonable expectation that he will get about with them. And it will of course send out the message that others can do the same. Sentences for crimimals are not simply punishment, but also to discourage others from doing the same.

    My personal view is that he should be tried in the US, but serve his time in the UK. This is perfectly reasonable when considered in terms of family visitors, rehabilitation and the like.

    However he should very definitely serve the sentence handed down by the US courts, not have it shortened by a Home Office worried about prison overcrowding. There have been cases in the past where Brits sentenced abroad have been returned to Britain to serve the remainder of their time and been released in very short order having served only a tiny part of their sentence. So I can understand the US reluctance to have him serve his time over here.

  18. Narlaquin
    Thumb Down

    In the interests of fairness...

    Could we have a comment from a USian please? I think that Aaron "Data Mein" Kempf should be actively solicited for his opinion on this matter.

  19. Britt Johnston

    why not move?

    If he moved to Europe, he would have the right to work, no extradition for petty crimes, and British justice wouldn't be so embarrassed.

  20. Mark
    Paris Hilton


    Well the penal system is supposed to reform, not punish.

    So how will this stop this happening again?

    It won't.

    What WILL stop it happening again is SECURE YOUR FRIGGING SYSTEMS.

    If your knob keeps faiing out your Y fronts, you buy new Y fronts, not sue everyone for seeing your dangler.

  21. Paul Rawdon

    That figures

    The mentality of the so called 'officials' will be that because Garry has just received a diagnosis, Asperger's syndrome was not the cause because he didn't have it then. What they won't realise that unlike the flu, Aspergers syndrome is a life long disorder that would have been with him since birth.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only good hacker is a dead hacker

    The title sums it all up when it comes to McKinnon and other hackers.

  23. Mike

    It is impossible to break a law that does not apply

    are the yanks trying to claim jurisdiction over the UK?

    of course he probably broke UK law on computer misuse, however that's a different issue between him and the UK courts, bugger all to do with the yanks

  24. Dick

    Double Fail

    The Asperger's excuse didn't work for Hans Reiser either.

  25. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Asperger himself ...

    defined the syndrome as the extreme end of normal male behaviour. Note that word: "normal". It's not a handicap, or a disability and it would not stop anyone from knowing that hacking into Pentagon computers was a stupid thing to do.

    Anyway, Aspergers and autism diagnoses aren't worth much more than the £150 you pay a clinical psychologist for them.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's too bad

    Makes me sad about my country's legal system and making an example out of him.

    Also sadly I'm starting to understand amanfromMars.

  27. Gareth Jones Silver badge


    Sorry to disapoint you but somebody could very easilly get into your house and steal your stuff. Our houses are not particulalry secure. Indeed it is often the case that they are not secure at all, how many people leave their doors unlocked when you are at home? Do you have the slightest clue how easy it would be for somebody to walk into most houses and access the kitchen, bedrooms, etc. while the occupants watch TV unawares? Do you have an inkling of how frequently that happens?

    Now from what I understand the computers in question were password protected, and McKinnon used a simple script to cycle through common passwords. The physical security of most houses is no better than that.

    However we continue to send burglars and housebreakers to prison.

    You are suggesting that the solution to the problem of prison overcrowding is to make houses more secure so that ne'erdowells can't actually get into them.

    You are also suggesting that it is perfectly acceptable to access somebody else's compter system and muck around with it as you choose, even when you know that the computer belongs to somebody else.

    I cannot beging to express what a misguided fool I believe you to be.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Extradite him when its a two way street

    By all means send him to the US to face trial, but only when the US has to follow the same rules over extradition.

    And if as reported he entered systems that where not protected what exactly did he hack into?

    Wouldnt be surprised if they dont invoke the same unlawful combatants rule and have his trial held in camera as a military tribunal, after all, any defence lawyer in a public trial will have a field day calling in senior US govt witnesses and asking them why exactly all the top secret stuff was on open display

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps they should jail...

    people who so ignorant as to not know the difference between the conjunction "to" meaning "toward" and the adjective "too" meaning "excessively".

    On the other hand, those who are ignorant enough to believe that circumvention of security measures on Government-owned systems will go unnoticed and unpunished deserve nothing less than incarceration.

    In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, "What a maroon!".

    Flame on, you European liberals.

  30. Gareth Jones Silver badge

    @Ian Johnston

    "Anyway, Aspergers and autism diagnoses aren't worth much more than the £150 you pay a clinical psychologist for them."

    I'd wondered about the diagnosis myself. How sound exactly is the diagnosis? Surely nobody would accept the defence's reasoning without some serious analysis of their own.

    And can anybody explain how he managed to function perfectly well in society before that diagnosis, but will fall apart when imprisoned? From what I have read recently people with asperger's often (though not always) function better when institutionalised.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    @thats too bad AC

    To be sure, I think amanfrommars has made some of the most lucid comments on this case so fars.

    Try this for crystal-ball gazing:

    McKinnon successfully stalls his extradition until next year (good idea, btw)

    He is publically tried for espionage, cyber-terrorism, animal-abuse, indecent exposure or whatever else the Bush-era AG decides to throw at him.

    Liberalish newspapers begin to publicize his plight : !!!Apzenger-afflicted amateurish-hacker accidentally breaks into incompetently-secured NASA computer site whilst looking for UFO trivia and is now on trial for his life!!!. (I'll let the el reg or NYT hacks work on a snappier headline).

    Civil-liberties groups like Amnesty International, the EFF, and other human-friendly acronyms start to pump oxygen into the flames.

    And before you know it, our latest US administration decides to get rid of the rot and our unlucky Scotsman is off scot-free and publicly telling CNN and BBC what a great country America is where justice and common sense still prevail, bla bla. With any luck, Gitmo's inmates will see some kind of civilian-judicial scrutiny of their "cases" shortly afterwards. There is of course some risk that it will all be blamed on the previous Republican administration (it's only fair) but in the interest of know...

    Yep, I have become pretty cynical after 49 years of existence (25 as an expat) but you couldn't make up a better soap opera for the new administration. In case anyone thinks I am being overly flippant about this man's situation, I am not, because he should definitely worry about what can happen to him once he gets into the clutches of US Justice. However, if he plays his cards right, the above Tarot read could just about happen. I wish you good luck, Mr. McKinnon. Please tell the court how ridiculously easy your "hack of the century" was when (and if) you ever reach the stand. Tell your lawyers to work on the embarrassment card. Maybe the new administration will then spend some money on competent IT security and personnel or offer you a deal. If not, maybe we can then quit comparing bad IT security to unlocked homes/cars/banks/databases (sorry Mr. Kempf) or using other equally stupid excuses for lame system administration. AFAIK, the US gov't hasn't left too many globs of confidential citizen data on commuter trains but then a pound of prevention is surely worth a tonne of cure. In fact, this could become a salutary lesson for us all. Gotta go, those helicopters are getting real close.....

  32. Anonymous Coward

    @Time to get in touch with reality

    Odd that your post is entirely detatched from reality and totally devoid of any proportionality.

    McKinnons crime is minor, did little damage & was not malicious. That you imagine this deserves the death penalty defies belief.

    When you hear comments like yours, it becomes clear that McKinnon stands no chance of a fair and balanced trial in the US.

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