Gary McKinnon, who is accused of hacking U.S. military and NASA computers, experienced another setback in his bid to block extradition to the United States. The British Home Secretary has decided not to get involved in McKinnon's case, meaning the hacker could be extradited in the coming weeks.
The British home secretary
has refused to block Gary McKinnon's extradition to the United States to face charges of hacking into U.S. military computers.
According to reports, Home
Secretary Alan Johnson decided new medical evidence was not sufficient cause
for him to block McKinnon's extradition. McKinnon stands accused of hacking
into computers at NASA, the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Department of
Defense during 2001 and 2002.
have said he has Asperger Syndrome and that his condition
should be taken into account.
According to the BBC
Johnson said he considered the information about McKinnon's medical condition,
but found sending him to the United States would not endanger his human
"Due to legitimate
concerns over Mr. McKinnon's health, we have sought and received assurances
from the United States authorities that his needs will be
met," Johnson reportedly said.
The decision by the home secretary
is a blow to McKinnon and his supporters, and means he could be extradited to
the United States potentially in the next few weeks.
If convicted, McKinnon-who told Reuters in 2006 he hacked U.S. military computers in
search of proof of alien life-could face several decades in prison.
"The feeling seems to be
that it's peculiar to make an example of a UFO conspiracy theorist when more
serious crimes are being regularly carried out by financially motivated
hackers, stealing identities, sending spam and creating botnets," blogged
Senior Technology Consultant Graham Cluley. "However, unless
McKinnon's supporters can pull a cat out of the bag, he could be on a plane
heading for the USA by Christmas."