Terry Waite has called on the US to drop charges against British computer hacker Gary McKinnon.


The human rights campaigner and former hostage claimed that as McKinnon suffers from Asperger syndrome, a form of autism, he is ‘irrationally obsessive' and that pursuing him is a waste of time.


Waite said: “No nation under the sun ought to convict an individual whose behaviour is occasioned by illness. Gary is clearly a very clever chap, he has that unique ability to find his way through the internet jungle and enter the inner recesses of the Pentagon. Full marks for his ingenuity.


“Was Gary a spy? Was he attempting to bring down the mighty military force of the USA? As far as I know he was not. He was simply looking for little green men. Anyone who has the slightest acquaintance with [Asperger syndrome] will know that while the sufferer can be, and indeed often is, brilliant in certain logical processes they can become irrationally obsessive in other directions.”


Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: “It seems to me that McKinnon is rapidly running out of options in his attempt to avoid extradition to the United States. It remains to be seen whether Terry Waite's statements are likely to hold much sway over the legal processes that appear to be dragging McKinnon relentlessly towards the departure gates of Heathrow airport.”