UK Hacker Loses Extradition Fight

The British hacker accused of hacking into US military computers has lost his fight against extradition, and stands to face fines up to $1.75 million and a 70-year jail term when he is tried.

Gary McKinnon, known by the hacker handle "Solo," does have one last appeal left with the highest court in the UK, the House of Lords. However, after Tuesday's ruling, it appears his time is running out.

According to the US government, the Polish-born McKinnon caused $700,000 worth of damage and rendered critical systems inoperable at Earle Naval Weapons Station in northern New Jersey shortly after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

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The Justice Department claimed it took nearly a month to return the servers to operation following McKinnon's actions.

An order to extradite him was signed in July of last year by England's Interior Minister, but McKinnon's lawyers appealed the ruling with the courts. They argued that the extradition should be prevented because the action was "for the purpose of prosecuting him on account of his nationality or political opinions."

The two judges assigned to the case saw it in a different light, however, and ruled that his conduct was indeed intentional and meant to "influence and affect the US government by intimidation and coercion."

They also said he intended to render the computers inoperable as part of his plans.

Following the announcement of the decision, McKinnon's lawyers immediately went on the offensive. Solicitor Jeffrey Anderson told the BBC that issues surrounding the conduct of US law enforcement would be raised at the appeal.

According to Anderson, a New Jersey prosecutor said McKinnon "would fry," a reference to being put to death by electric chair, he claimed.

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