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Brit hacker fights being sent to U.S.
BY ELLEN TUMPOSKY
SPECIAL TO THE NEWS
LONDON - A British computer whiz who allegedly hacked into Pentagon and NASA networks because he thought they were hiding evidence of the existence of UFOs is fighting extradition to the United States.
Gary McKinnon, 39, is out on bail after appearing at Bow Street Magistrate's Court in London yesterday for an extradition hearing. He was first arrested in 2002 after being indicted by a U.S. grand jury on eight counts of computer crimes in 14 states.
At the time of the indictment, Paul McNulty, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said McKinnon was "charged with the biggest military computer hack of all time."
It was not clear why the extradition case took so long to get to court.
McKinnon - known online as "Solo" - allegedly accessed 97 U.S. government computers, stole passwords, deleted files and shut down military computer networks, crashing 300 computers at Earle Naval Weapons Station in Colts Neck, N.J., shortly after 9/11.
His lawyer, Karen Todner, said he could face 70 years in U.S. jails and would contest the extradition.
"The treatment of other British nationals under the American judicial system inspires little confidence," she told reporters. She said his motivation for hacking was to try to prove the existence of UFOs and expose the poor security of U.S. government systems. Many of the systems had easy-to-guess passwords, she said.
According to British press reports, McKinnon, who was unemployed but had worked as a computer engineer, dressed like his hero, glam rocker David Bowie, and believed that U.S. defense networks were concealing evidence that aliens had visited Earth.
He allegedly did his hacking from home using software downloaded from the Internet.
Janet Boston, representing the U.S. government, told the court yesterday that McKinnon had caused $700,000 in damage. "On one instance, the U.S. Army's military district of Washington network became inoperable," she said.
McKinnon is due back in court next month and in the meantime is barred from accessing the Internet. - source
Originally posted by meshuggah1324
Someone from Edwards AFB just told me that he saw this story on CNN but they didn't mention anything about the UFO aspect of it. "Figures..."