Gary McKinnon the UK computer hacker who spectacularly cracked the Pentagon system and embarrassed the American defence establishment now faces extradition to the United States, where a prosecutor has said he would like to see him "fry".
Born in Glasgow and now living in Bounds Green, north London, McKinnon, also known as "Solo," became fascinated with hacking as a 17-year-old watching the film War Games. He also acquired from his stepfather an interest in UFOs, which became another motivation for his hacking life.
His lawyers complained yesterday of the "chilling and intimidating threat" made by the US authorities against the man who carried out the "biggest ever military computer hack" - from a room in his girlfriend's aunt's house in Crouch End, north London.
The computer systems administrator is accused of hacking into 97 United States military and NASA computers in 2001 and 2002. The computer networks he is accused of hacking include networks owned by NASA, the US Army, US Navy, Department of Defense and the US Air Force.
Gary McKinnon, 41, yesterday lost his appeal against extradition to stand trial in the US where he is accused of stealing computer files, intentionally causing damage to a protected computer, obtaining secrets which might have been "useful to an enemy" and interfering with maritime navigation equipment.
Appealing against the decision of tJohn Reid, the home secretary, to grant the extradition request, Mr McKinnon's barrister argued that his client could spend the rest of his life in an American jail. Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Goldring dismissed the challenge but were critical of the US authorities.The judges said in their ruling that they were unhappy with the US handling of the case: "We make no secret of the fact that we view with a degree of distaste the way in which the American authorities are alleged to have approached the plea bargain negotiations."
Mr Cooper told the court that his client would apply for leave to appeal to the House of Lords in what is seen as a test case on extradition law. Mr McKinnon's lawyers have argued that, as the alleged offences were committed in this country, he should face trial under British law.
Mr McKinnon, a former systems administrator for a small business, has always maintained that he was motivated solely by curiosity and that what he had done could be classed as investigative journalism. Posted by Casey Kazan.
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