We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

WikiLeaks cables show US ignored Brown's NASA hacker pleas

Cables also show Cameron has attempted to raise the issue

Cables from the US Department of State that were recently made available on WikiLeaks have revealed how Gordon Brown pleaded with the US to stop the extradition NASA hacker Gary McKinnon.

The cable, which is thought to from Louis Susman, the US ambassador in the UK,  to US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, details how Brown, who was then Prime Minister, tried to hammer out a deal with the US by highlighting the concerns that McKinnon would commit suicide if imprisoned in the US.

According to The Guardian, which has been working with Wikileaks regarding the cables, Susman said in the cable: "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 if imprisoned in a US facility."

Susman also said in the cable that despite the "public criticism of the US-UK extradition treaty" caused by the case, "the US administration said it still wanted McKinnon to stand trial in the States".

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

The US claims McKinnon's hacking activities caused $700,000 (£433,000) worth of damage. He's also accused of stealing 950 passwords, deleting files at a naval base in New Jersey and rendering the military computer networks used following September 11 useless.

The cable also details an attempt by new prime minister, David Cameron, to raise the issue with US officials.

"Cameron said he had raised the extradition with the ambassador in an earlier conversation because the case was a matter of concern for many in the British public," Susman said in the cables.

"British people generally feel McKinnon is guilty 'but they are sympathetic', Cameron said."

A hearing into the demands of the extradition is expected to be opened by Parliament's home affairs committee today.

See also: 30 percent think Gary McKinnon shouldn't be tried


IDG UK Sites

Nexus 6 vs Sony Xperia Z3 comparison: Lollipop phablet takes on KitKat flagship smartphone

IDG UK Sites

Why people aren't upgrading to iOS 8: new features are for power users, not the average Joe

IDG UK Sites

Free rocket & space sounds: NASA launches archive of interstellar audio on SoundCloud

IDG UK Sites

iPad Air 2 review: Insanely fast and alarmingly thin. Speed tests, camera tests, beautiful...