3 April 2007
A Briton has denied being a "cyber terrorist" as he faces extradition to
the US, accused of what was called the "biggest military computer hack
Glasgow-born Gary McKinnon, of north London, is accused of gaining
access to 97 US military and Nasa computers.
The High Court rejected his claim that the extradition, granted by the
home secretary, breaches his human rights.
Mr McKinnon said labelling his hacking into US military systems as cyber
terrorism was "blinking ridiculous".
"Prosecute to the max"
Speaking on BBC Radio Four's PM programme, he said today's legal ruling
brought him a step closer to losing his liberty.
Earlier his lawyers had told the court that the 41 year-old had been
subjected to "improper threats".
Mr McKinnon said; "I was told that if I didn't cross the pond like a
good little boy then they (the US government) would prosecute me to the
"I was also told by the New Jersey authorities that they'd like to see
He said he knew what he had done, but said American claims about the
level of damage he had caused to government computers were "ridiculous."
No grounds for appeal
The $5,000 price tag the Pentagon and other branches of the US
government had placed on his hacking enabled them to fast-track his
extradition from Britain, he claimed.
Earlier his lawyers had argued that, if extradited, he would face an
unknown length of time in pre-trial detention, with no likelihood of
He would also face a long prison sentence - "in the region of 45 years"
- and may not be allowed to serve part of the sentence at home in the
UK, his lawyers had said.
But Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Goldring dismissed his legal
challenge, saying they could not find any grounds for appeal.
Ben Cooper, for Mr McKinnon, said his client would now seek to make an
appeal against his extradition at the House of Lords.
"We will certainly be applying for this court to certify a point of law
of public importance and to grant leave," he said.
"This could lead to him spending the rest of his life in prison in the
US, with repatriation to serve his sentence in his home country denied
as punishment for contesting his extradition."
Mr McKinnon has never denied that he accessed the computer networks of a
wide number of US military institutions between February 2001 and March
Since his arrest in November 2002, he has maintained that he was
motivated by curiosity.
"I'm facing 40 years because the US military systems have blank
passwords and no firewalls," he said.
"I'm hoping the law may see some more sense than we've seen so far."
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