back to article Judges grant McKinnon extradition review

Judges have granted a review of the Home Secretary's decision to continue with extradition proceedings against Pentagon hacker Gary McKinnon. The decision - by Lord Justice Maurice Key and Mr Justice Simon - places a judicial block on attempts to haul McKinnon over to the US on hacking offences, irrespective of whether UK …


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  1. Emo

    43... Young?

    If 43 is young then I must be fucking embryonic.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    a good snapshot of UK vs US justice

    UK - "aw bless, it's ok little Johnny, here have free everything. Anything else you need?"

    US - "now look here you piece of shit criminal, you're a piece of shit and I'm going to treat you like a piece of shit."

    Although with Obama it's soon to be the same bullshit in the US.

    "Justice for none and freedom for all" should've been his slogan ...

  3. Dennis

    deja vu

    "recent diagnosis with Asperger's syndrome"

    Is this an attempt at an Ernest Saunders defence?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    hacking...walked in through the open door more like

    McKinnon admitted (allegedly) to breaking into US Mil and Nasa sites by going in through an open door, rooted around looking for ufo stuff and apparently did loads of damage (like telling them that their security was shite) and brought down 300 computers.


    I think that since there is now a new guy in charge at the top who believes in openness for the good of the people and not to cover the hairy arses of some incompetant sysadmins, and publicity seeking DA's.

    McKinnons lawyers should be asking for the whole truth as to how he managed this feat.

    If McKinnon has got aspergers then he will be eaten alive by the american judicial system.

    they are the archtypal weird kid, there is just something about them read this guys first comment

    he most certainly has it.

    If Barack allows this to go ahead the all that talk of inclusivaty, non-discrimination etc. will be shown up as just another load of tosh by some party politician.

    In my misspent youth we were into loads of systems, mainly to see if it could be done (it could) we never caused any damage (covered by criminal damage laws) and never stole any propriety information (covered by other existing legislation).

    Emma Nicholson (anybody remember I thought not) brought in some hysterical ott anti-hacking laws (my god she has been reincarnated as waki jaki) and put an end to our exploits. But there again I don't have aspergers and could read between the lines.

  5. Mark

    The prosecution hasn't even proven their case

    Which they had to do before the one-sided extradition treaty was signed by the UK.

    So AC et al, how do you know that damage was done? They don't even want to let the UK court see it.

  6. Steve Cragg

    @a good snapshot of UK vs US justice

    I think it's more a case of (in this case):

    UK: "Lets look at all the facts, before deciding whether he should punished by sending him to a different country to face a biased trial".

    Your version of the US: "Kill, Kill, Kill".

    Of course, you're another internet tough guy, sitting behind a wall which makes you invisible.

    Having to wonder if you would be desperately trying to stoke your blood lust if it was a member of your own family.... ? No? thought not.

    And i'm still trying to find all the same responses from people like you for the "IT Security Expert" probably being paid lots and lots of money which allow a mentally disabled guy to break into one of the most secure networks in the world under his / her watch.... anyone?

  7. Joskyn Jones
    Paris Hilton

    @ Deja Vu

    LOL, I'm sure if the Ernest Saunders defence fails he'll try the Pinochet methodology of avoiding extradition and failing that we'll all be subject to mass hysteria from the rent-an-excuse-for-Gary-cos-we-are-limp-liberals-and-don't-like-the-nasty-US-of-fucking-A crowd.

    Personally, I'd wish he was extradited as soon as possible to stop this freaking crass saga of sympathy for a nobody that broke the law. FFS, Mitnick broke the law and did his time, what makes poor little Gary and his "oh dear I seem to have suddenly developed an illness when ALL of my options for avoiding extradition have failed. Please take pity on poor little me, flutter-flutter/puppy dogs eyes"** any different?

    Gary, you shouldn't have done it, if you hadn't then you wouldn't be in this position, would you?




    Paris, because if she can, "Young Gary" can...!

    **My personal view of events only.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Justice delayed is justice denied !

    Time to send Gary on a field trip to the USA. He did the crime now it's time to do his time. End of story.

  9. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Justice delayed is justice denied !

    What an original and thoughtful comment.

  10. Nick Palmer


    ..hacking federal databases has been reclassified as a misdemeanour, so he should be fine :P

  11. Luther Blissett

    Exposing a NASA fraud

    The fraud being taking millions of US tax dollars for the designated purpose of finding alien life, and systematically destroying the evidence it gets of UFOs. No wonder they are after McKinnon with such determination - what might he know about doctored pictures?

    Is there any authority figure that Whacky Jacqui will not bend over for? Speak up - doubtless something can be arranged for your jaded palette. (You will of course be handsomely disbursed from the public teat for your service).

    +1 for a bent Whacky icon.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    @Joskyn Jones

    I'm glad I don't know you. You sound like a thoroughly unpleasant little troll.

  13. b

    re: a good snapshot of UK vs US justice

    and Deja Vu

    and indeed @ Deja Vu

    Can we please have a belming icon.


  14. Klaus

    Re: Justice delayed is justice denied

    How long has he been in the legal system ~3yrs? Do those 3 yrs count against any further punishment? How much more can they (do they want to) possibly punish this guy? And what damage did he actually *cause* (ie. not clean-up effort to secure wide-open systems but actual computers he crashed/files he destroyed?)

  15. Anonymous John

    @ Re: Justice delayed is justice denied !

    William Gladstone apparently thought so. Not forgetting Magna Carta. To no one will we sell, to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."

    If you can't do the time, don't do the crime.

  16. Peyton

    "...a crime of eccentricity"

    Wait, are they talking about McKinnon or a Batman villain?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At last, common sense.

    Title says it all.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    @"Justice delayed is justice denied ! "

    And what sort of "time" would you imagine is acceptable for his crime?

  19. Anonymous Coward


    He committed the crime in the UK. He should be tried in the UK, under UK laws.

    What's the problem?

  20. Steve Cragg

    @Re: Justice delayed is justice denied

    Their comment was timed nicely though, as 16:22 would of been approximately the time it would of taken to get home from school, grab a can of pop from the fridge and write that comment.

  21. david wilson

    @Steve Cragg

    To be fair, I'm not sure that Asperger's really counts as a mental disability when it comes to breaking into computers, or doing computer work in general.

    For a lot of people, it's primarily a social disability, not affecting focus or intellect, so if someone with Asperger's breaks into a machine, that's no worse a reflection on the security than if someone without Asperger's.

    That said, it does seem like the security of these machines was pretty shit and badly managed, and of all the people who break into machines (apart from people employed by the owner to test security), a loner obsessively looking for information that doesn't exist is probably rather better than someone just doing it for the challenge or to brag about it, and *far* better than someone looking to cause damage or extract confidential information.

    It seems typically the case that people who should have kept machines secure will try to cover their backside by bigging-up the skill/persistence/etc of the intruder, but that's something that people should bear in mind before poking around in other people's machines

  22. Anonymous Coward

    @@a good snapshot of UK vs US justice

    No, I don't pretend to be an internet tough guy, I just know for a fact that he has admitted to committing a crime and as such fully deserves to be shipped off to wherever he need go to be properly processed.

    If my brother, to follow your example, had hacked into china and published Obama's speech in full (which had been censored by them) then it's reasonable to assume that he's knowingly commited a crime and so cheerio, enjoy china.

    "And i'm still trying to find all the same responses from people like you for the "IT Security Expert" probably being paid lots and lots of money which allow a mentally disabled guy to break into one of the most secure networks in the world under his / her watch.... anyone?" <-- completely irrelevant to the case at hand, if I leave my back door open and someone comes in then they've still broken the law. Or if I left my car unlocked with my laptop in it, if someone went into my car and snooped around on my laptop sure I'd be an idiot but that doesn't make it any more legal. Your point is solely relevant to an investigation on how it happened, not who did it.

    If I rape someone and my defence was that I didn't believe in consent and I didn't believe her when she said it was her time of the month and I wanted to know the facts that doesn't make it any more legal. How this chump has any support is beyond me, he's a criminal.

  23. Pierre

    Mostly irrelevant?

    Looks like some people should read up on what McKinnon did instead of blindly believing the "biggest military hack of all times" lie. He did not do any cracking actually. He connected to wide open computers (which is not an excuse, I know), had a look around, spotted other intruders, engaged in friendly discussion with at least one of the "hacked" computers' operators and kindly told them that their system was a piece of swiss cheese. All the from the UK of course. So, yes he's a nutter. No, he shouldn't have done it. But he didn't cause any damage (the preposterous damage claims are the maintenance costs to plug the holes he allerted them about. How ridiculous is that?).

    The poor guy embarassed the wrong people. Apparently it's all it takes to be considered as a terrorist these days. (alternatively, you can take pictures of a school or a gov building. Or a cop.)

  24. James

    Guilt already admitted

    He's already admitted doing it; Asperger's would only be a valid defence if it actually meant that either he could not tell that what he was doing was illegal - utterly absurd - or that he could not control himself. How on earth is it any kind of excuse?

    I want to see him punished properly for breaking into these computers - whatever price you might put on the intrusion, it's still a crime. Since the victims were in the US, that should be where he gets prosecuted, sentenced and punished. I object to Russia shielding Russian criminals from prosecution for their crimes abroad - it would be hyprocritical of me to support the UK shielding a UK criminal, particularly where the foreign legal system is one in which I have far more faith than the UK's own!

  25. Harry the Bastard

    simple reason he should stay in UK

    the UK-USA extradition treaty is a one-sided abomination that Blair and the rest of Bush's poodles rolled over and begged for

    now the UK allows extradition to the USA on the flimsiest of grounds, do it in the other direction? dream on suckers!

    Blair got that medal for caring more about the USA than the UK, as PM that's treason

    flames for the second step in Blair's hanging drawing and quartering

  26. John Watts


    If he went in through an open door then it's analogous to trespass.

    If he was trespassing with intent to steal murder or rape then its burglary; otherwise it's a civil matter.

    As for Asperger's being a defence - it's not a defence against the crime; it's a defence against extradition which would leave him with an unfair trial.

    All trials must be fair even if the guilt is incontrovertible - if one trial is unfair then it brings the whole justice system into question.

    The real crime is the one-sided extradition treaty and I have to say that calling it treason appeals to me.

  27. Mark

    Guilty of a not-crime he did commit

    Almost exactly the opposite of the A-Team.

    A) What they want him for (the crime on the extradition order) was not a crime when committed

    B) Ex posto facto laws are unconstitutional in the US

    C) If he is counted as having dome this in the US, he's covered by the constitution and so the law cannot be applied

    D) Therefore the extradition is not legal.

  28. Steen Hive
    Thumb Down


    " He did not do any cracking actually. He connected to wide open computers (which is not an excuse, I know),"

    Of course it's a fucking excuse! Or do you want to be looking at up to 70 years in the clink for pointing your browser at

    Time for this shit to end. An unprotected computer with a public IP is a public space. there are plenty of non-routable IP's to go round all you numbnuts.

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Double Standard

    When was the last time Americans sent of their own to another country to face justice?

  30. Anonymous John

    simple reason he should stay in UK @

    Not that one-sided. It seems damn near impossible to extradite anyone from the UK. Extraditees (is that a word?) seem to be able to fight it indefinitely.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @@@a good snapshot of UK vs US justice

    Wow you would send your brother to be incarcerated in China for publishing a speech? You would fit in really well in Orwells 1984. We need more people like you.

    "if I leave my back door open and someone comes in then they've still broken the law" - No actually you are completely wrong. If they steal something from your house they have committed theft, but if they just walk in through a door you left open they have committed no crime.

    "he's a criminal." What a black and white world you live in. Have you never commited any crime in your life? Ever record a TV programme on a video recorder? Broken the speed limit, even by going 31 in a 30 zone (bear in mind speedometers are not 100% accurate)? Copied a CD or tape from anybody? Not put your seatbelt on?


  32. Pierre

    No crime, no time?

    Mind you, there *is* a difference between crime and offense.

    On related news, prosecution is asking for 5 years behind the bars for botnet herder who stole hundreds of thousands of online bank passwords -from work*. When you compare the "crimes", McKinnon prolly deserves a few tens of hours of community service. Hardly worth the deportation, is it? (not to mention that there is no valid reason why he should face US, and not UK, justice in the first place)


  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Let's not forget

    If your shoelace comes undone in the street you commit a crime.

    1) You stop and cause an obstruction doing it up

    2) You don't stop and cause a public menace with your dangerous undone shoelace

    3) You step into a doorway or otherwise off the street, committing trespass, to do it up.

    Just having committed some insignificant little crime... well it says in British law "De minimis non curat lex" - the law doesn't care about insignificant little things. Like what he did or like doing your shoelace up on a public footpath.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This could be poetic justice

    If after all the legal hurdles, this could be poetic justice if McKinnon is extradited and lands in a U.S. prison for a few decades/

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So you walk into a carpark, next to your car there is another car with its door wide open, on the seat is a wallet with a load of cash and a switched on laptop.

    Do you

    a. ignore it, it's not my problem or

    b. have a shufty to see if you can identify the owner and inform him of his potential loss

    As a normal person you might think risking 5 years hard in a foreign jail is not worth the hassle, let someone else do it but if you have aspergers the only thought is b. not for one moment do you think that some deviant t**t will call the cops on you for doing what is the the right thing.

    He could very well have been trying to be helpful. When you or I try to be helpful, we do it for the selfish inner glow we get, basking in the thanks we get, if we get no thanks we just shrug it off with a 'miserable...'.

    Aspergers people try to be helpful because they have been conditioned to believe that that is what others want, when their help is rebuffed they take it heart and believe that they have done something wrong (which is why he admitted it)

    You and me can suss out when someone is trying to pull the wool over our eyes, people with this condition have no concept that anybody would even try.

    Just take his computer off him and give him something useful to do with his time.

  36. Pierre

    @ Steen Hive

    "Of course it's a fucking excuse! Or do you want to be looking at up to 70 years in the clink for pointing your browser at Time for this shit to end. An unprotected computer with a public IP is a public space. there are plenty of non-routable IP's to go round all you numbnuts."

    Well, from what I gathered, he did "crack" the password in a remote access software. The cracking was not really difficult (brute-force attack with a 1-word list: the default). But still, it was illegal when he did it. Not criminal, but still illegal. So he must be punished. Something like community service sounds fine. Of course the time he wasted fighting the preposterous extradition demand should probably be substracted.

  37. Hydrazine

    Asperger's my Arse-berger!

    You mean it's possible to be a hacker and not have Asperger's Syndrome? Was he diagnosed by the fact he only made eye-contact with the Judge's shoes?

  38. Anonymous Coward

    Oh puhlease

    Quote from BBC site:

    "His lawyers had previously told the High Court that if he were removed from his family and sent to the US, his condition was likely to give rise to psychosis or suicide."

    "I am very controlled, which is probably not a good thing, but inside the fires of hell are burning. It's not a good place to be."

    If I'm stopped for speeding, I know my defence. A previosly undiagnosed condition and an over-protectivce mother.

  39. Anonymous John

    @ Trespass..really

    You've missed

    c. ransack the car looking for evidence of UFOs.

    @"Justice delayed is justice denied ! "

    "And what sort of "time" would you imagine is acceptable for his crime?"

    I don't know what crime if any he has committed. That's for the USA courts to decide, and unless he's extradited, we'll never know.

  40. Naiirita

    its the info that he looked at

    this is more akin to going into somebodys house, and going through their medical files, then claiming its ok because you were just curious and the upstairs window wasnt locked. if he had just stumbled across the info, thats one thing, but he went deliberatly looking for classified data on Goverment systems, including ones dealing dealing security and defense. The difficutly he had in getting in to the system is irrelevent. the fact he told a user he was in the system, and what if any damage he did, is to be dertermined by the courts and will affect sentencing, but does not mean he does not get charged.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    According to an interview with the BBC back at the start of this debacle, it wasn't a list of passwords, he was looking for machines with no password at all, or in other words a zero length string.

    I wonder if you can crack a zero length string?

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He did the crime...

    The U.S. has the right to extradite and prosecute McKinnon because the crimes occured in the U.S. Gary has had no medical problems for the sudden onset of ASSHOLE syndrome, so Gary should do his prison time in the U.S. where the crimes were committed.

    The bogus legal proceedings he and his lawyers have created to prevent proper extradition to the U.S., are a farce. Hope he ends up in the slammer for 30 years.

  43. JimC

    Committed the Crime in the UK...

    I'm not sure about that... If I stand in England and throw a rock over the border into Scotland and break a window, where did I comit the crime? To me the only answer that makes sense is that the crime was committed in both places. Maybe in England though I only threw a rock: the criminal damage was in Scotland.

    So if the seppos want to prosecute him it seems to me they're quite entitled to, and it seems to me its most logical the prosecution should be where the most serious aspect of the crime happened. If it was my window in Scotland I'd be pretty unhappy if the guy was let off with a warning by the english cops because he didn't do any damage in England.

  44. Harry the Bastard

    @Anonymous John

    "Not that one-sided. It seems damn near impossible to extradite anyone from the UK. Extraditees (is that a word?) seem to be able to fight it indefinitely."

    Tell that to the Natwest three.

    I don't see the USA coughing up the PIRA terrrorists that the UK wants to stand trial.

    The facts are simple, check for yourself, under a treaty intended to ease extradition of terrorists, the UK readily extradites white collar crims, while the USA protects people wanted for terrorism.

    One. Sided.

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The time is now

    Time to prosecute McKinnon and throw his worthless arse in the slammer for 50 years.

  46. Mark


    Gathered from where?

    And having such poor security is tantamount to treason and is at the very least criminal negligence for government security work.

    Yet they are all still A-OK...

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop the ignorance

    The guy hacked and got caught. Too F'en bad. Go to America and be punished for the crime. Don't be a crybaby. No one gives a shit about his B.S. Aspbergers Syndrome that was conveniently discovered after he got caught. Tough Shit. Get over it Chap. You hacked, now you go to prison in America. I hope you learn your lesson.

  48. David Wilkinson

    @Neil Morgan

    The Aspe's I know would stick the the letter of the law. They tend to take things very literally, and logically.

    In the US you can't walk just walk into someone's house uninvited. Even if the door is wide open, its breaking and entering. You'd get arrested for that.

    People in the UK must have very different idea's about private property.

  49. Dave Bell

    US vs UK

    A US court will quite happily try a defendant who has been kidnapped from another country--no need for extradition.

    A UK court will not.

    And US courts have also held that their Constitution does not protect non-citizens.

    None of this has anything to do with Bush, and it makes the current Extradition Treaty even more of an abuse of human rights.

    Anyone, with the precise legal details to hand, willing to write to the US President?

  50. Andus McCoatover
    Thumb Down


    So, we can soon expect the airmen in the (A-10 "Friendly" fire) incident to be extradited?

    Don't hold your breath. They weren't.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anything on the internet

    with wide open backdoor is fair game. If you don't want people coming in and snooping, then shut it down, secure it or post a sign warning of trespass! I don't see a crime committed.

  52. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: The time is now

    FYI all - this comment and the previous one entitled 'He did the crime' were by the same AC. He evidently got a little more hardline in the five hours between postings.

  53. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Stop the ignorance

    Oh, and this one's by the same AC too. He has been busy.

    Just so you know, Same AC, I'm nixing anything else you think you have to say on this subject, because I am weary of your trollish dribblings. Did someone with Asperger's steal your chocolate milk, or what?

  54. TimNevins
    Thumb Up

    Winning the battle, losing the war

    A lot of the posts seem to focus simply on this case rather than the long term ramifications.

    If this is allowed and one day the same deal is cut with Russia,China (especially if they turn off the gas taps) then every single dissident will find the UK no longer a safe haven.

    And neither will you.

    In the States jaywalking is a crime as is several other offences which appear minor in nature.

    How will you feel if you came back from the US and found you had broken some of these and you could be extradited without question?

    - A fine may be levied but mainly they can still threatem from afar.

  55. David Simpson

    All theft is easy compared to hard days work you lefty twats

    If you wander into a car park and someone has left their door open with a wallet full of cash and a laptop sitting in plain view I would close the door and tell the parking attendant, just because it would be easy to steal someone elses property does not make it right you half wit.

    If someone came wandering into my house through an open back door I would certainly treat them as hostile and eject them.

    If i walked into a bank and the bank managers door was open does this mean i could just wander in and "look for UFOs"

    The real truth is if Gary had been looking for bank account numbers instead of UFOs the general public would be foaming at the mouth. He trespassed illegally where he should not have been AssBurgers has no bearing at all, most mummy's boys are an easy diagnosis especially when they still live at home in their 40s.

    The sheer amount of lefty twats arguing to let him off just because they were uncaught teenage hackers beggers belief !? Get back to selling your Big Issues and Socialist Worker and stop wasting your money on internet cafes.

    I find the "young man" statement hilarious his mother is obviously an empty nest nut job, how will she cope when he gets send down ? Maybe she should have been a better mother and stopped that young 30 year old rascal from watching the X-Files in the 90s it was obviously too much for him.

  56. Mark

    @David Simpleson

    But you will notice that this WASN'T an attempt to take money, credit card info or anything like that.

    In fact, if the bank had been as lax about the cash they hold, the insurance company would not pay. If they were as insecure as the DoD in keeping credit card info secure, they would be up for criminal negligence charges and a class action lawsuit.

    But this isn't the case.

    He didn't walk in a door, he connected to an internet computer which is the FRIGGING POINT OF THE INTERNET. The places generally had nothing saying you weren't allowed in and he didn't do $5000 damage. He didn't hack in and the terrorism law they want him charged with was not there when he did it, so (since ex posto facto laws are unconstitutional in the US, and that trumps all laws) he is not able to be charged by it.

  57. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Committed the Crime in the UK...

    If you throw that rock, you have committed the crime of either throwing a rock at another country if that is illegal in your country, or broken international law, if your country is a signatory (e.g. Hague infraction).

    This is as illegal as the Dutch cartoonists who did those Mohammed sketches. Anyone get deported for it? Anyone here asking for that to happen?

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    And yet....

    ...the 'merkins go out of their way to protect their own (alleged) criminals.

    McKinnon will get the same treatment in a 'merkin prison, keep him in the UK.

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