Threat Management, Vulnerability Management

British minister denies McKinnon extradition appeal

Accused U.S. government hacker Gary McKinnon must be extradited to the United States to stand trial, a top British official has decided.

Home Secretary Alan Johnson reviewed medical reports and court filings for McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, but announced late last week that he found no evidence of why the 43-year-old should avoid extradition.

"I am clear that the information is not materially different from that placed before the High Court earlier this year and does not demonstrate that sending Mr. McKinnon to the United States would breach his human rights," Johnson said in a statement, according to numerous published reports out of the U.K. "As the courts have affirmed, I have no general discretion. If Mr. McKinnon's human rights would be breached, I must stop the extradition. If they would not be breached, the extradition must go ahead."

In July, the High Court said it would not review a decision from an earlier appeal, essentially rejecting the claim that McKinnon should stay in the country because of his medical problems, according to reports.

McKinnon, 43, is accused of hacking into 97 computers operated by the U.S. government, including those of the Pentagon, Army, Air Force and NASA. American authorities have said his actions resulted in a shutdown of the Army's Military District of Washington network, containing more than 2,000 computers and resulting in $700,000 in damage.

McKinnon has maintained that he is simply a computer geek and only wanted to find evidence of alien life and UFOs.

McKinnon's lawyers said the extradition would lead to "disastrous consequences" for his health, including possible psychosis and suicide, according to reports. They claim McKinnon is in an “extremely fragile mental state.”

His legal team has until Wednesday to file for a judicial review of the home secretary's decision, reports said. In addition, McKinnon can appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

If both remedies fail, he is scheduled to be extradited later this month.

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