The man accused by the US government of accessing more
than 73,000 US military machines has lost his second appeal to the
UK Home Office against extradition.
(Credit: Tom Espiner/ZDNet.co.uk)
McKinnon's recent diagnosis with Asperger's Syndrome, a
condition on the autistic spectrum, had not changed home secretary
Jacqui Smith's decision that the self-confessed NASA hacker be
extradited, said McKinnon's solicitor Karen Todner on Monday in the UK.
"The secretary of state has advised via the treasury solicitors
that, despite Mr McKinnon's diagnosis with Asperger's, she will
now be making arrangements for his extradition pursuant to her
order for extradition of 4 July, 2006," said Todner. "We are now
considering whether or not McKinnon has a further judicial
remedy and we are urgently investigating this issue."
The home secretary also failed to make any request to the US for
McKinnon to be repatriated to the UK to serve his sentence, should
he be found guilty by a US court, said Todner.
The US has accused McKinnon of hacking into 97 US army, navy,
air force and Nasa computers, and causing damage costing hundreds
of thousands of dollars by deleting files. McKinnon has never
denied hacking US military systems, but denies causing extensive
damage. He claims he was initially searching for evidence of
extra-terrestrial life, and later found evidence of anti-gravity
The Home Office declined to comment on why McKinnon's appeal
had been turned down, and why his recent diagnosis with Asperger's
Syndrome was not sufficient grounds to consider an appeal.
However, it is understood that the Home Office sent a letter
rejecting McKinnon's appeal to his solicitors on Monday.
ZDNet.com.au sister site ZDNet.co.uk understands that the Home Office believes its position
has been vindicated by several courts, who successively found in
favour of the Home Office, before McKinnon's Asperger's
The final representations made to the Home Office gave no basis
for overturning the order for extradition, ZDNet.co.uk understands.
The reasons for McKinnon's appeal to the Home Office being
dismissed were set out in the letter sent to McKinnon's
McKinnon's legal team said in September that,
should McKinnon's Home Office appeal be dismissed, the team was
preparing an application to the High Court to appeal against
McKinnon's extradition. Todner told ZDNet.co.uk at the time that
she would also consider a judicial review of the home secretary's
decision, should Smith decline McKinnon's appeal.
This is the second appeal to the Home Office in McKinnon's
long-running legal battle to avoid extradition. McKinnon lost his
first appeal to the Home Office in July 2006, when the then home
secretary John Reid dismissed his representations.