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NASA hacker extradition delayed by Home Office

Home Secretary Alan Johnson given new evidence

NASA hacker Gary McKinnon is to have his extradition order reconsidered after new evidence regarding Asperger's Syndrome was presented to the Home Secretary.

Asperger's sufferer McKinnon is accused of breaking into US military computers, including those belonging to NASA, in 2001, in a bid to prove the US government had knowledge of UFOs.

While McKinnon says his actions caused no damage, the US claims he stole 950 passwords, deleted files at a naval base in New Jersey and rendered the military computer networks used following September 11 useless. The US estimates the damage caused by McKinnon at $700,000 (£433,000).

According to McKinnon's attorney, Karen Todner, new medical evidence has been submitted to Alan Johnson. If the Home Office allows McKinnon's extradition to proceed, he has 14 days to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, Todner said.

The Home Office has received the evidence but does not have a deadline for making a decision, according to a Home Office spokesman.

On October 9, the High Court denied McKinnon the chance to take his case to the UK's new Supreme Court. McKinnon sought to join an appeal against extradition filed by the attorney of Ian Norris, a British businessman facing charges in the US for alleged involvement in an cartel.

The UK government approved McKinnon's extradition in 2006. McKinnon has fought extradition tooth and nail. His latest appeal to the Home Secretary argues that extradition would be harmful to his overall health, Todner said.

As his case has continued, McKinnon has drawn increasing support from members of Parliament and celebrities. His case has also drawn high-profile attention to the UK-US extradition treaty, which many argue is unfairly biased against UK defendants.

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See also: Hacker McKinnon could serve UK prison sentence


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