British hacker close to extradition to US

Gary McKinnon broke into 97 military computers - often without a password. He says he was just looking for proof of aliens.

Is Gary McKinnon the greatest military hacker of all time, or just your average geek conspiracy theorist, busting into Defense Dept. computers looking for proof of aliens? Those questions may be addressed in American courts as a British court recommended McKinnon be extradited to the US for trial, Reuters reports. The Home Secretary wil make the final determination.

Gary McKinnon, 40, was arrested last June following charges by U.S. prosecutors that he illegally accessed 97 government computers -- including Pentagon, U.S. army, navy and NASA systems -- causing $700,000 worth of damage.

McKinnon, whose hacking name was "Solo," has admitted gaining access to U.S. government computers but denies causing any damage.

While US Attorney Paul McNulty said, "Mr McKinnon is charged with the biggest military computer hack of all time," McKinnon uses the hacker's privilege, that the government should be grateful to him for showing the weakness of their systems.

"My intention was never to disrupt security," McKinnon told reporters outside Bow Street magistrates court in London on Wednesday. "The fact that I logged on with no password meant there was no security to begin with."

He said he was just an ordinary computer nerd who wanted to find out whether UFOs and aliens existed.

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