Gary McKinnon will not be extradited to the US for hacking the Pentagon

Gary McKinnon, is a British man with Asperger's Syndrome who has been fighting extradition to the US after he hacked a US military server "looking for evidence of UFOs." He faced a 60-year sentence if convicted in the US. After a decade-long fight, the UK Home Secretary Theresa May has blocked his extradition, citing "public concern about the extradition regime," in a turn that surprised many of us -- I would have bet cash money against it.

Gary McKinnon extradition decision


    1. Funny that you should mention that. Ms. May just dyed her hair and did a bit of a wardrobe upgrade that was noted in the press. It appears that she’s trying to upgrade her image in several senses, as she was desperately unpopular.

  1.  The Tories are hardly popular at the minute; my bet is they’ll do anything to improve their approval ratings. Good news re McKinnon, but I’d approve more if they chucked themselves off the Thames barrier strapped to a paving slab. That’d get my vote…

      1.  Actually small ones would do. There’d be a big crowd pelting them with shit to make sure none of them got out in one piece. Where to start? The police Federation, School teachers, Health Service employees, Civil servants, most of the middle classes, benefit claimants and pretty much anyone employed in the public sector. Then the mob would turn on the city…

  2. Great news. I just wonder what the intelligence retributions will be. Say no to the global bully – be prepared to pay the price.

  3. Asperger’s Syndrome is yet another “Twinkie defense.”

    While I agree with blocking his extradition – the penalties were rather ridiculous – his attempt to paint those with Asperger’s Syndrome as unavoidably criminally insane is the one thing that made me feel otherwise.

    1. I imagine that you would never sacrifice any of your principles merely to avoid spending 60 years in a foreign jail.

      1. None of those reporting it as though Asperger’s was a valid reason for criminal activity, are facing 60 years in a foreign jail.

        Imagine if the excuse were based on skin color – “I just can’t help myself, my skin color makes me more likely to commit crimes.”  These days the media would rightly consider it to be BS, and would rarely report it.  They understand how it unfairly paints everyone else with the same skin color.

        And yet McKinnon is doing exactly that with Asperger’s, and the media goes along with it.

    2. I never read his defense as equating Aspergers to Criminal Insanity. I think, with an agenda and an axe to sharpen, it can be interpreted that way. If you need to do it that way, and that way only, then I can understand why you’ve taken it so personally.

      1. Oh, spare us.  This guy *IS* using Aspergers as an alibi for criminal behavior.  You don’t need an agenda or an axe to sharpen to see the implications. 

        If Aspergers is a valid alibi for criminal behavior, that it’s the cause of his criminal behavior, then it follows that we must be wary of those with Aspergers, for they are more likely to commit criminal behavior.

        I disagree, but like it or not that *IS* the implication of this guy’s defence.

        1. I’m not saying I agree with this line of defence, but you’re confusing the use of this defence against extradition as a defence against the criminal act itself. When actually all this is doing ultimately is determining whether he could be tried in the UK instead as it is being considered fairer on his health, whether it is or not. It’s not being used to excuse the crimes themselves. Just whether he will be treated fairly, given his “health”, in the US justice system. 

        2. Your “If Aspergers is a valid alibi for criminal behavior” is not what is implied here. it IS what you keep saying is the only possible interpretation, but it’s not the inevitable conclusion of what the man’s defense is.

          Again, if you’re not capable of reconsidering your overly-strong interpretation from a slightly different perspective, then I can maybe get why you’d take this personally.

        3. If Aspergers is a valid alibi for criminal behavior, that it’s the cause of his criminal behavior, then it follows that we must be wary of those with Aspergers, for they are more likely to commit criminal behavior.

          By that “reasoning”, we should treat children as dangerous criminals-to-be.

          1. How so?  No-one is saying that having once been a child is the reason they commit crimes.

            My complaint isn’t so much that he makes the claim.  As another here said, “I’d burn most of the world to avoid spending 60 years in jail.”  It’s that the media buys into it and focuses on it – like above – where they’ve learned not to do so with claims about skin color, etc.

            Likewise, look at the story description above:  He was just “looking for evidence of UFOs.”

            Sorry, but a guy who breaks into US Army computers and disables them by deleting the operating system files and data – and posts “US foreign policy is akin to Government-sponsored terrorism these days … It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand down on September 11 last year … I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels …” – is NOT looking for evidence of UFOs.

            He’s no different than someone who vandalizes all the cars on your street – and makes up totally BS excuses when caught.

            I agree with the refusal to extradite him though.

          2. He’s no different than someone who vandalizes all the cars on your street – and makes up totally BS excuses when caught.

            It sounds like you simply don’t believe that Asperger Syndrome exists or that it could affect someone’s perception of appropriateness. That would be an outlying position.

          3. I certainly believe it exists.

            I do not however believe that it clouds your sense of right and wrong in any significant way.  Certainly not to anywhere near the extent that you’re breaking into computers and erasing the operating system and data files.

            Nor do I believe that someone breaking into US Army computers and disabling them by deleting the operating system and data files – while leaving messages like “US foreign policy is akin to Government-sponsored terrorism these days … It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand down on September 11 last year … I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels …” – is looking for evidence of UFOs.

    3. I think I agree with your premise, but it’s not helpful to oversimplify.  Cases where Asperger’s – or any mental illness – plays a role are probably complicated, and deserve a day in court.

  4. Good. He broke a UK law on UK soil. He should be tried in the UK and if found guilty, serve his sentence in the UK (possibly taking into account any period of custody he may have served while the extradition nonsense played out).

    He certainly caused a disproportionate amount of trouble and damage in the US, but instead of exaggerating the seriousness of his actions and by extension their own poor security practices, the US should fucking thank him for the trial run. Next time it might be an agent of an unfriendly foreign state or criminal organisation, or even a terrorist (if they really existed). People like that will cover their tracks better of course, and won’t be deterred by hollow threat displays such as threatening silly amateurs like Gary with 60 year jail sentences. Oh, and they won’t be acting from countries that even have an extradition treaty with the US.

    1. I’m sure the US want’s to “pick his brain” (off the interrogation room floor) as they probably have little idea of how he did what he did. And furthermore, they want to pick his brain because he is an amateur that got caught. The real pros that you allude to typically do not get caught. So while they know that this goes on (because they are stupid and lazy about security(and given that nothing in security is ever 100%)) they might not have all the cards. Not that it would change anything.

      The security-mindedness of the US is make it look good on the outside, cover-up as much of your incompetence as possible and failing that blame the TERRISTS and then bash some little guy with a big-ass stick as a lesson to the others (except the organized criminals, real terrorists and foreign governments who could still not give two shits about deterrents like those because they will never be affected by them anyway. Fucking pathetic if you ask me.)

      1.  It’s common knowledge how he did it; the dozy bastards were using default passwords and unpatched win2K boxes on sensetive networks. Because large organisations are even more difficult to instill decent security procedure in than my grandmother. Fuck ’em.

  5. Had he been asked to respond to charges of “Copy Right Infringement TM” over the U.S. No Aspergers Syndrome (or public corncern) would be enough to keep him on U.K. soil.
    Cause “Copy Right Infringement TM” is even worst than hacking the military..

  6. And what about Richard O’Dwyer then?  His extradition approval is totally unjustified and without merit.

  7. I’m so glad he’s feeling better about things.  Because that’s ultimately what we want for criminals.

    1. He’s being treated more reasonably, which is what we want for everyone. Especially people not yet tried and convicted. He’s not going to be imprisoned indefinitely or kill himself, and he’s almost certainly not going to do it again, which is basically what we want for criminals, even the ones that have been convicted.

      What do *you* want for non-violent criminals? Punishment for its own sake, of unlimited harshness, regardless of efficacy?

      1. What he did barely even constitutes crime.  It’s a minor privacy violation.  If you hack into someone’s database and use credit card numbers to steal, that’s crime.  What Mr. McKinnon did should be, at most, a misdemeanor punished by a fine.

Comments are closed.