US Wants British Hacker Extradited

    June 9, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

A suspect in what US officials call the biggest intrusion into military computers ever detected will fight extradition.

Gary McKinnon was indicted in the United States in 2002 on multiple counts of computer fraud. He allegedly invaded computers belonging to NASA, the Pentagon, and several military installations.

British magistrates freed the suspect on bail yesterday. He is supposed to appear again on July 27th for an extradition hearing. Apparently, Mr. McKinnon is afraid of being prosecuted and sentenced in the United States.

“Of particular concern to him is the treatment of other British nationals under the US judicial system, which inspires little confidence,” Karen Todner, Mr McKinnon’s lawyer, said. “We believe that as a British national he should be tried here in our courts by a British jury and not in the US.”

The US contends that the suspect illegally accessed 97 computer systems between February 2001 and March 2002. While prosecutors believe Mr. McKinnon was acting alone and not in the employ of terrorists, they do claim his attacks caused $700,000 in damages.

Why the United States released Mr. McKinnon in the first place, and why they want to extradite him when computer crime suspects rarely get extradited, is not clear.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.