Gary McKinnon, the British hacker accused of carrying out ‘the biggest military computer hack of all time’ has won the right to appeal against his extradition to the U.S. for trial.
The 42 year old, who was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome last August, admitted to hacking into 97 American government computers, including networks for NASA, Army and the Department of Defense, looking for information on UFOs that he believed the American government was suppressing, causing damages that were estimated at $800,000 – $1 million.
McKinnon believes he will get a fair trial in the UK, and if convicted, will face only a 3-4 year sentence, rather than the possible 70 year sentence he would face in the U.S.
McKinnon’s lawyers argued that, despite the damage caused, McKinnon had no malicious intent and if extradited, would be at risk of psychosis or suicide. Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, who diagnosed Mr McKinnon with Asperger’s, said “We should be thinking about this as the activity of somebody with a disability rather than a criminal activity.”
UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has agreed to postpone McKinnon’s extradition until the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, has reviewed his case in March.