Government: McKinnon will be extradited

After listening to appeals, the Home Office says it will press ahead with the extradition of the NASA hacker despite concerns over 'unfair' extradition treatment

Gary McKinnon, the so-called "NASA Hacker", is to be extradited to the US within the next two weeks, the Home Office announced on Thursday.

In May, McKinnon lost his appeal against extradition and has been waiting for the final decision of the Home Secretary, John Reid.

"Mr McKinnon had exercised his right to submit representations against return but the Secretary of State did not consider the issues raised availed Mr McKinnon," the Home Office said in a statement. "Mr McKinnon now has the opportunity, within 14 days, to appeal against the decisions of the District Judge/Secretary of State."

The news came the day after Boris Johnson MP went into print to condemn the British Government's handling of extradition to the US. McKinnon is facing extradition under the Extradition Treaty of 2003 which was rushed into law after the terrorist attacks of 11 September, 2001.

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But, as Johnson pointed out in an article published in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, the Act has not been ratified by the US Government, so while McKinnon is being extradited to the US under the terms of the Act, the UK Government cannot extradite a US citizen to the UK.

McKinnon was accused of one of the biggest military hacks ever, when he hacked into a series of sites belonging to the US Army, Air Force, Department of Defence and, most famously, NASA.

The US Government alleged that McKinnon's hacking activities caused $700,000 (£380,000) worth of damage. McKinnon has always denied causing any damage to the US systems and under the terms of the controversial Extradition Treaty, the US Government has not been required to show any evidence.

McKinnon has always maintained that his activities were harmless and that he was more concerned with finding evidence of extra-terrestrial activity than causing damage, but he did admit to causing some damage through wiping some files. McKinnon maintained he only able to gain access to the systems because security was lax.


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