McKinnon loses extradition appeal

News by Fiona Raisbeck

Gary McKinnon, the man who allegedly broke into the US military and NASA computer systems, has lost his High Court fight against extradition to the US.

Gary McKinnon, the man who allegedly broke into the US military and NASA computer systems, has lost his High Court fight against extradition to the US.

The 40-year-old Scot is accused of hacking into 97 US military and NASA computers in 2001 and could face up to 60 years in prison if convicted following his extradition.

Home Secretary John Reid granted the US request to extradite him for trial, but McKinnon’s lawyers argued that he had been subjected to “improper threats” and the transfer would breach his human rights.

However, Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Goldring said that they did not find any grounds of appeal and dismissed his legal action.

McKinnon’s case dates back to 2001, when it is alleged that he hacked into 97 US government computers, including those of the Pentagon, US army, air force and NASA. US prosecutors accuse him of accessing hundreds of military machines.

The former computer systems administrator admitted breaking into the systems, but claimed he was looking for evidence of UFO activity and was only motivated by curiosity.

However, US authorities maintain that he committed the “biggest military computer hack of all time” and caused around $700,000 (£400,000) worth of damage.

Extradition proceedings began in 2005.

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