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NASA hacker won't be extradited to the US

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February 16, 2006

A British hacker by the name of Gary McKinnon is accused of hacking into NASA's computer systems and the U.S. military. He will not be extradited to the United States to face trial unless the NSA can guarantee he won't be treated as a terrorist.

At a court hearing at Bow Street Magistrates' yesterday, McKinnon's lawyers claimed that he could be detained indefinitely by the U.S. authorities.

Gary McKinnon is charged with illegally accessing 97 U.S. government computers and causing $700,000 worth of damage over a 12-month period starting in Feb. 2001.

Last year, McKinnon said he had accessed the computers because he was looking for evidence that the U.S. had found extraterrestrial life.

He denied causing serious damage.

Lawyers for the defense told the court that the U.S. could choose to treat McKinnon under its "military order No. 1," which allows suspected terrorists to be tried under military law.

District Judge Nicholas Evans, who is hearing the case, ruled that the extradition request would be denied unless American officials could guarantee they would not prosecute McKinnon under the order.

"All you have to do is satisfy the court he is not at risk," said Evans, according to The Guardian. "And if you cannot, then there is a problem."

The case is due to resume on March 14.

Source: C-Net News


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