back to article McKinnon wins extradition delay

Gary McKinnon has been granted a delay in his long-running fight against extradition to the US on hacking charges. A judicial review of the Home Secretary's decision to ignore McKinnon's recent diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome in deciding to push ahead with his extradition was adjourned for a month, following a hearing on …


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  1. Joskyn Jones
    Paris Hilton

    Gary Stop Fscking about...

    ...and accept the punishment for your illegal (your admittance) deeds.

    Paris did for hers...!

  2. James Pickett


    Good news - and good timing! I think he's suffered enough...

  3. Michael Fremlins

    an admission of guilt does not equate to "guilty"

    I don't think it's possible after all this hullabaloo for MxKinnon to receive anything like a fair trial in America.

    It is time to drop the extradition.

  4. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Relief

    Don't you mean 'string him up and let his slowly twisting corpse serve as a warning to all hackers'?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Gary Stop Fscking about

    > and accept the punishment for your illegal (your admittance) deeds

    He is. He's admitted breaking UK law, and should be prosecuted and punished here.

    He was in the UK when he committed the offence; he's here now; I don't know if he's even been to the US. The computers he broke into were in the US. So both the UK and US courts have jurisdiction over the offence, but it seems more reasonable to prosecute him here.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    And so the little mouse gets to run round the track again... with hope.

    Meanwhile the cat..... schemes.

    "Change is coming to America" - how much change and when?

    Good Luck Mr McKinnon.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I predict

    The new regime in America will have no interest in pressing this whatsoever and he'll end up being sentenced to six months insulating the lofts of scary old women in chiswick who smell funny.

  8. Joskyn Jones
    Paris Hilton

    @Gary Stop Fscking about By Anonymous Coward

    He did no damage to UK systems or UK assets, so why would we want to prosecute him here then?

    If Paris can, I'm sure he can, even with Assparagas syndrome..!

  9. Anonymous John

    @ an admission of guilt does not equate to "guilty"

    "I don't think it's possible after all this hullabaloo for MxKinnon to receive anything like a fair trial in America.

    It is time to drop the extradition."

    The average American doesn't follow UK current affairs. It would be hard to find 12 jurors who had ever heard of McKinnon.

    It was his choice to fight extradition all the way. A plea bargain years ago, and he'd probably have been released by now.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    @Joskyn Jones

    "He did no damage to UK systems or UK assets, so why would we want to prosecute him here then?"

    We don't prosecute people who break the law based on whether it did any harm or not.

    We prosecute on the basis that they have broken the law - that's why.

    Now go back under your bridge and wait for the three billy goats gruff.

  11. Dennis

    Re: @Gary Stop Fscking about

    "So both the UK and US courts have jurisdiction over the offence, but it seems more reasonable to prosecute him here."

    Maybe reasonable, but not cheaper. Does the legal system pay to ship one suspect to the US or pay to bring lots of witnesses to the UK?

    I don't think the extradition has been conducted fairly, but a US trial would be cheaper. Certainly cheaper for the UK.

  12. Dave Harris Silver badge


    Is the new US administration really going to pursue this? Can't see it happening myself. New Pres seems technically savvy enough to realise that it was shoddy security that was largely at fault here, and he doesn't seem to be a fan off CYA prosecutions...

  13. Red Bren

    @@Gary Stop Fscking @15:25

    "He did no damage to UK systems or UK assets, so why would we want to prosecute him here then?"

    He did no damage to US systems or US assets so why should we let him get extradited? The only thing he has damaged is the reputation of the US military by gaining access to systems that should have been far better protected. He's just a scapegoat to protect those who should be getting into trouble for this.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Once again...

    ...the UK goes soft on criminals. Pathetic.

    He'll be getting a Lordship next!

  15. Steve Cragg

    @Gary Stop Fscking @15:25

    Oh stop being such an internet tough guy. It's blatantly obvious that 1) he does have a mental condition and we (i.e. Britian) shouldn't be making a habit of ignoring this when it comes to sending a citizen to another country to faces crimes and 2) the "damages" occured (or at least stated by the Americans) were nothing more than them doing an audit of their security (which would be an asset) and making changes to the obviously wide open systems (another asset).

    There were no "damages" involved here, just some red faces, which shouldn't come into the picture.

    You making such bullish claims about firing (and prosecuting - since it is matter of national security) the person incharge of their IT security for allowing this to happen in their watch? Or you just targetting the lone, rather sad mentally disabled British guy (who just so happened to break into, what should be one of the most secure networks in the world)?

  16. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Once again...

    What criminal?

    The law the US wanted him extradited for was not extant at the time. The UK prosecution decided not to prosecute because of the pissant nature of the "crime".

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Maybe reasonable, but not cheaper. Does the legal system pay to ship one suspect to the US or pay to bring lots of witnesses to the UK?"

    I don't recall that the UK legal system pays witnesses for travel expenses - certainly not for the defence, and I speak from experience.

  18. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Just desserts

    " Don't you mean 'string him up and let his slowly twisting corpse serve as a warning to all hackers'? " ... By Sarah Bee Posted Tuesday 20th January 2009 15:01 GMT

    Crikey, Sarah, perhaps you would like to spank him too.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Political Charges

    If he was charged with an offense appropriate to breaking in to a insecure network for non-malicious reasons and causing no significant damage there would be no reason not to extradite him. The US courts can take into account his mental state if they see fit. The problem is they charged him with what are obviously politically charges. There is no such thing as cyber-terrorism, and Gary MCkinnon is clearly not a terrorist. That such charges have been applied should rule out extradition on the grounds that it is a political prosecution. We would not allow someone to be extradited for a ludicrous nonsense offense. Cyber terrorism does not exist, even if someone could commit a terrorist act through the internet, and I do not see how, they should be charged with plain old terrorism , murder etc. Cyber terrorism was created , much like WMD, as a deliberate distortion to make something seem much worse than it really is. Let the US charge Gary with a real offense then he can be extradited otherwise we should tell them to get lost.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "He describes himself as a bumbling amateur looking for evidence that US authorities had suppressed knowledge about advanced technologies harvested from crashed UFOs, while US authorities describe him as the perp of the biggest military hack ever recorded."

    Dunno about you guys, but I'd put money on the former rather than the latter...

  21. Tom

    Asperger's Syndrome?

    Yet another Mickey Mouse "disability" - no doubt his blue badge application is in progress. He was smart enough to do the crime, now he should face up to the consequences.

  22. Steen Hive
    Thumb Down

    @Once Again

    The UK handing it's citizens over to a hostile foreign power is *definitely* going soft on criminals.

  23. Anonymous Coward

    @Sara Bee - Re: Re: Relief

    Yay, you've finally been won over!

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's hope the stonewalling ends in four weeks

    It's time for Gary to be held accountable for his crimes in the U.S. He's used every foolish ploy to escape extradition to the U.S. where he committed his crimes. Now it's time he be shipped off to the U.S. to stand trial, be prosecuted and serve his prison time in the U.S. just like any other criminal. As a criminal he certainly deserves less consideration than he has been granted already. Ship this scum to a U.S. prison and get on with life.

  25. Steve Cragg

    @:Asperger's Syndrome

    Except it's not. Maybe you have a PHD in mental illness'ness, or perhaps you are just talking out of your arse instead.... i'm guessing the former to be blunt.

    Just google it, or perhaps all those doctors are just plain wrong and you're completely correct?

    This government (recently) has had a nice little history of ignoring British citizens, the Thailand riots, the many reports of UK people held on stupid charges in the middle-east and Africa, the guy from Liverpool.... this is just a number of examples.

    But it's ok, he broke into one of the most secure networks on this planet and caused billions and billions of dollars worth of damage... how so? Well, they won't tell you, but you better believe it!

    Or perhaps he's hitting a sore spot with what he did, with so many "IT security experts" around.

    Giving his guy to the US to face years in a PMITA prison for causing no damage, and ultimately making the US Military network even more secure, not including his mental condition is a slap in the face of anything remotely humane.

  26. Stewart Stevens

    @ Steve Cragg - Quite Right

    If the village idiot walked into a military base and took a plane / tank for a joy ride your concern wouldn't be for the village idiot would it? We can safely predict a high level of idiots in the population for years to come.

    The problem here is that the people in charge of security have been shown to be idiots - a state of affairs not entirely compatible with their jobs. Its abundantly clear that McKinnon isn't the world's most talented software guy and that his hacking methods were lo-tech. Even if he were, the network security of "the world's most powerful military" should certainly be safe from an individual attacker. More so for a prolonged attack.

    In reality I'm sure there are some smart people in the US military. They'll be pretty concerned about what happened and hopefully want some big changes for real security reasons. The idiots responsible for all this would love to draw attention to Gary but I hope the American public is beginning to see this for what it is and instead support the smart people in their military to allow them to do a better job so that we don't see a repeat of this kind of debacle.

  27. Danny Craig
    Thumb Down

    He was in the UK, he should face trial here.

    He commited his crimes from the UK and should therefore face trial in the UK and under UK laws. Of course we should take it seriously when a british citizens hacks into a foreign governments system (although wether any damage was done is down to who you believe), but if he had hacked into a communist country's systems, would anyone seriously consider there requests for extradition? Just because it's the USA and they are so important to our economy, our government just caves in and to hell with the rights of british citizens.

    We should trust in our own laws and systems to deal with this issue. Americas demands for extradition shows a total lack of respect for the british justice system. It also shows our own politicians have no back bone and simply see extradition of one of our citizens to be the easy answer. Extraditing citizens to america should only be done when a british citizen has commited a crime in america and then fled back to britain to avoid american justice.

    If this extradition order is eventually approved, I hope we can stage some sort of a peacefull protest. Maybe we all just surround Gary like some massive human shield and the police have to lift every one of us out of the way. It wouldn't stop the inevitable, but it would get a strong message of disaproval across.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to see this go to trial...

    ...they have to prove "beyond all reasonable doubt" that he caused damage. How would the DoD / NASA do that in open court without seriously showing their arse?

    @Let's hope the stonewalling ends in four weeks - 20:43 GMT

    - Brave, aren't you AC? I'll bet my arse to a barn dance that you're an American.

    I don't think many of us Brits care whether Gary gets extradited or not, as long as the trial is fair. What we most object to is our Government handing people over when we know full well the Americans would tell us to stick it up our arse if the boot was on the other foot.

    Good luck Gary. Not condoning what you either did or didn't do - just hope you get a fair trial mate.

  29. Dale Morgan

    He's entitled to a fair trial

    America wants to make an example of Mckinnon, all the trolls here obviously have no idea what the situation is.

    He wont get a fair trial if hes extradited, he'll be charged under terrorism laws and made an example of for embarresing the previous US government.

    If he was guaranteed a fair trial then extradition wouldn't be a problem, but a fair trial in the US is very rare.

    The people who win court cases in the US are the ones who can affored the most expensive lawyer, I dont think Mckinnon has the same budget as the US government.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Human Rights?

    So we dont send people back to countries which abuse human rights as I understand it. So how can we consider sending one of our own to a country which freely admits it captured a 14 year, kept him in Guantanamo Bay for years with no legal respresentation whilst torturing him. The worst thign being it was based on heresay of his deeds and no evidence.

    If thats not human rights abuse then what is?

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @Steve Cragg

    "Except it's not. Maybe you have a PHD in mental illness'ness, or perhaps you are just talking out of your arse instead.... i'm guessing the former to be blunt."

    I'm guessing you actually meant the latter. Completely agree with you otherwise.

  32. alan

    mental illness

    If we are classifying Aspergers Syndrome as a "mental illness" maybe we should lock him up in a home, Yes or No.

    I think you will find the answer is NO, therefore he is fit to stand trial for the crimes he committed.

    He was a sysadmin and was well aware of the seriousness of the crimes he was committing, regardless of the damage caused or not. And I dont want to sound unsympathetic but it says something when he was diagnosed only at the point his extradition had all but gone through, no other avenues to try, why not try and have a mental illness, dont worry its not your fault :)

    As people have said he was given the oppertunity to be tried here, he said no. And so the US want he, his has tried to fight the extradition and failed. Its time to hand him over, and spend the money else where. Try schools, or locking up rapists.

  33. Hugh_Pym
    Black Helicopters


    ...every terrorist/spy network in the world must have been attempting to get access to US military networks at the same time as this guy . If he did it some others must have done too. I guess they where better at covering their tracks though. I wonder if the powers that be think he may inadvertently give away the much bigger secret that the US military networks were wide open for a considerable amount of time.

    If this were to be examined as a major security breach rather than a lone hacker then it would be more than red faces for the those responsible. They would look pretty silly trying to prosecute the secret services of China, Russia, Iran, et al. and even worse if it turned out Al Qaeda had gained useful inside information on domestic flight security provision around that time.

    No wonder they are so desperate to keep McKinnon in the frame. The air is thick with black helicopters round the McKinnon residence.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The more I read about this the more troubled about it I become.

    The exradition is just plain wrong and is something that our lovely UK Government should never have signed up to. We already know from the various coroner cases that the US Defence peeps won't respect our laws by sending over witnesses or evidence. I'd be trying every possible trick to get out of being extradited too.

    P'raps more scary is the the US Military still hasn't learnt anything. Anyone ever read The Cuckoos Egg by Clifford Stoll? Very similar methods of breaking in to defence networks including the Pentagon and that was back in the mid 1980s.

  35. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: mental illness

    >no other avenues to try, why not try and have a mental illness, dont worry its not your fault :)

    Yes. I'm sure that's precisely what didn't happen.

  36. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Re: mental illness and criminal acts under duress and/or three line whips

    Gary's escapade is old hat news and there is no evidence of deliberate intentional abuse, just some stoned Deadhead giving IT and the PC some Verbal.

    However, the same cannot be said of the following crowd, who are actively engaged in a premeditated criminal act against the Law of the Land and who would probably be able to be classed as mental and therefore able to be sectioned and removed to secure prison hospital accomodation, should they persist in their madness. ......

    Is there no Halt to the Arrogance and Abuse of the System which Parliament condones, thus to Destroys itself? Is that the Traitors' Plan for a Foreign Power?


  37. Mark

    re: surely...

    "I guess they where better at covering their tracks though."

    Yes, because anyone seriously wanting to steal secrets and break open DoD computer systems to weaken the US is doing so deliberately and for a seriously bad purpose. They will start off thinking about how to hide their actions.

    McKinnon was looking for UFO evidence. If he'd found any, US security wasn't involved (unless US security means keeping all the good tech for themselves and hang everyone else, including their friends, which is hardly something you can say out loud in defence of your actions in hiding the alien tech). And if he'd found it, the "exploitation" would not be an attack on the US but a display of how there IS alien life and how the US government hid it.

    Since this would require him to stand up and say this (and he would be proud to), why hide the activities?

    His dismissal of techniques to hide his deeds speak of his lack of malice in the endeavour

  38. Hugh_Pym


    "As people have said he was given the oppertunity (sic) to be tried here, he said no."

    Do the accused get the opportunity to say no to trial? I though it was the DPP that said no to prosecution because it wasn't worth while or because if he had already been to trial he could not be extradited, depending on who you listen to.

  39. Red Bren
    Black Helicopters


    "If we are classifying Aspergers Syndrome as a "mental illness" maybe we should lock him up in a home, Yes or No."

    How many people pro-actively seek diagnosis for a mental illness? Not many, bearing in mind the stigma and prejudice demonstrated by your comment.

    More often than not, mental illness goes undetected until someone's behaviour veers significantly and possibly criminally outside of what is culturally acceptable. Before this incident, Gary was probably viewed as a bit of an oddball, socially inept but harmless. It's only after his actions have got him into trouble that his symptoms have been diagnosed for what they are. With support and medication, there is no reason why Gary can't continue to be a productive member of society. Locking him up, either in a home or a US prison is at best, counter-productive and at worst, scapegoating.

  40. James
    Thumb Up


    "I don't think many of us Brits care whether Gary gets extradited or not, as long as the trial is fair. What we most object to is our Government handing people over when we know full well the Americans would tell us to stick it up our arse if the boot was on the other foot."


    We British folk like to see someone get one-up on the big guys who like to throw their weight around. For he who is not one-up is surely one-down.

  41. alan

    @ Red Bren

    I just dont think that conditions such as this, which can make people describe you as "a bit of an oddball", are truely mental illness, in the way that schizophrenia is, McKinnon was able to function as a 'normal' member of society, therefore it does not absolve him of his social responsibilities, therefore he should be fit to stand trial, and accept the punishment that is due. If he can in this country then he can in america.

    The arguement about whether prison is the right punishment, or whether rehabilitation is better, is another arguement.

    I just do think that this condition has come about when his extradition looked certain, and I just dont buy it as a reason for not extraditing him, and letting him face the punishment there.

  42. Mark
    Gates Horns


    "Do the accused get the opportunity to say no to trial?"

    Why not? Microsoft did.

    And when found guilty, they got to decide how they would be punished. And when they didn't like the punishment, they got to decide whether they got to change the punishment.

  43. Mark


    However, what he thinks is societal norm (or, even SEES, let alone thinks it is normal) is changed quite dramatically if you are an aspie.

    But IRRESEPECTIVE of all that

    1) the damage is bollocks. Made up to make it a criminal offense rather than an offence that the extradition agreement allows.

    2) the crime he is being extradited for was not at that time a criminal act (therefore, since the US constitution says that ex posto facto laws are unconstitutional, cannot be applied)

    3) the crime he did and admitted to has been deemed unworthy of prosecution (in much the same way as kicking someone is violent affray but for a first time offence will be a warning rather than being sent to the courts for punishment)

    NONE of which depends on anything other than the facts of the case.

    Now, should we extradite GWB for war crimes and send him to the Hague? How about the US pilots? extraordianry rendition for them? Hell, how about back pay for the terrorist activities against the legal authority of the crown (since we're going to backdate laws)?

  44. Hugh_Pym
    Black Helicopters


    "Why not? Microsoft did."

    Thinking about McKinnon and Microsoft and US high profile trials in general. I'll bet the outgoing administration wore out a few shredder blades last night. I wonder how many laptops had a sudden and complete hard drive failure too.

  45. alan

    @ Mark

    1) the damage is bollocks. I will admit that this is probably true, but surely this is for the court to decide, all we have to go on so far is speculation based upon McKinnon. Hopeful (ok pretty doubtfully) the US authorities will produce evidence of the damage done during the trial. Even if this is behind closed doors just to the judge.

    2) fair enough if this is true, accept extradition and use it as the defence???

    3) yes in this country, but not in america, hence let them have him.

    The facts of the case are not coming out in this trial by media, and will only come out in a fair trial in court. Current we are getting what either side wants us to hear, mainly McKinnon who is trying to appeal to the public, to get sympathy and avoid a trial. All spun by the media.

    As for extraditing GWB do you have any proof of guilty? yes provide it to the ICC and see what they do, but the USA are one of a few countries not signed up to it so very little. No well again its all hearsay and just because everyone knows something does make it so, and doesnt make it stand up in court. Without sufficient evidence GWB is inocent of war crimes. Prove him guilty.

    Btw I am not a bush fan and had i been a yank i would not have voted for him

  46. Mark
    Paris Hilton


    1) No, it really IS bollocks. $5000 per machine compromised??? When that just *happens* to be enough to turn it into a crime rather than misdemeanor (and so eligible for extradition). Well, THERE'S a co-inki-dink.

    2) Theres no crime to answer for. No extradition is available unless you've committed a crime, which this point says (and you accept) shows is the case here

    3) If he goes to the US, they STILL can't do him for the crime, since there was none (as point 2 which you've accepted says. still)

    The facts of the case are irrelevant. There is no case to answer for. The time at which this act occurred, there was no crime against it.

    Full stop.

    End of.

    No extradition because there is no crime.

    GWB has instigated "an aggressive war". He's even admitted it. And you know what we killed Hitler's pals for? Yup. Waging an aggressive war.

    Fuck you're dumb.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Is nothing but a troll. Ignore this moron.

    I for one am appalled that the UK would even begin to consider allowing the US to get hold of this man.

    Dumb is to good for the likes of him!

    I think Bush should definately be prosecuted for war crimes, and there is plenty of evidence against him at least anyone who is not a right wing bigot.

  48. Cris Wilson

    Free Gary!

    We should not be letting the US extradite this man. Especially since they still practice the death penalty and US officials have been quoted as saying that they want to see him fry.

    The USA don't want justice, they want revenge. And that's a good a reason as any to try him in a British court.

  49. Danny Craig
    Thumb Down


    For the likes of Jacqui Smith and the rest of the government, this is simply about sacrificing Gary for the sake of the special relationship between britain and america. They couldn't care less how he is treated by the americans or wether he did everything they accuse him of, they put on this farce that they've made agreements about how he will be trialed with the americans, just to keep up this pretense that they are the party of fairness & equality. The french (and other nations) have the balls to stand against america at times, but they pay the price by doing less business with them. Don't expect a british government (wether conservative or labour) to ever do the same. I think many of you are saying extradite him because you see this relationship as being more important than one man. And as i've said before, if he'd actually been to america and commited a crime whilst there, I would be all for extraditing him back to america, as this is why I thought extradition agreements were put in place in the first place (seems I was wrong and america will seek to exploit these agreements).

    If the US government had any respect for Britain, they would stop nagging the british government for extradition and just give gary a lifetime ban from ever stepping foot on american soil. He's hardly public enemy number one and all they've suceeded in doing so far is highlighting just how uselessly protected their systems were.

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