Gordon Brown pleaded with the US administration to allow Nasa hacker Gary McKinnon to serve any sentence in the UK, the Wikileaks cables have revealed.
According to the latest revelation stemming from the massive leak of diplomatic cables, Brown, at the time prime minister, was rebuffed by the Obama administration after calling in August 2009 for McKinnon not to be extradited. McKinnon faces extradition to the US for hacking military networks in 2001 and 2002.
"In August, PM Brown, in a one-on-one meeting with the Ambassador, proposed a deal: that McKinnon plead guilty, make a statement of contrition, but serve any sentence of incarceration in the UK. Brown cited deep public concern that McKinnon, with his medical condition, would commit suicide or suffer injury in imprisoned in a US facility," the diplomatic cable, sent in October 2009 by US ambassador to the UK Louis Susman to secretary of state Hillary Clinton, read.
A Guardian report of the cable on Tuesday — the newspaper is the only British publication to have worked with Wikileaks on the cables' timed release — suggested that the US may have turned down Brown's request due to its anger over the UK's release of the man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing, Ali Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
Supporters of Gary McKinnon point out that he suffers from Asperger Syndrome, a condition on the autistic spectrum. Although he has always admitted the hacks — he claims to have been looking for evidence of extraterrestrial life, rather than hacking out of malice — the supporters say McKinnon should serve any jail time in the UK rather than the US, due to his condition.