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Obama Won't Intervene Over British Hacker McKinnon

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the unclenched-fist-dressed-in-velvet dept.

Government 268

CWmike writes "President Barack Obama said on Tuesday that he can't intervene in the long-running case of a British hacker charged with breaking into US military computers. Gary McKinnon's case came up during discussions with British Prime Minister David Cameron in Washington. The UK Home Office is reviewing whether McKinnon's medical condition is grounds to block his extradition to the US, which was approved in 2006. McKinnon has yet to stand trial in the US, where he was indicted by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in 2002 for hacking into 97 military and NASA computers between February 2001 and March 2002. Obama said during a press conference with Cameron that by tradition US presidents do not get involved in extraditions or prosecutions. 'I trust that this will get resolved in a way that underscores the seriousness of the issue, but also underscores the fact that we work together and we can find an appropriate solution,' Obama said."

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268 comments

Asperger's (5, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981270)

Citing Asperger's as a medical condition to prevent extradition is silly. Being socially deficient doesn't make you incapable of determining right and wrong, if in fact he really has the condition at all considering the ridiculous amount of self-diagnosis out there. Genuine Asperger's is a form of autism and deeply impacts your life. The guy left a threat on one of the computers promising future hacks--he knew what he was doing.

This is starting to sound like another "Free Mitnick" movement, where people support a guy who legitimately deserves legal punishment just to make themselves feel compassionate.

Re:Asperger's (3, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981360)

Being socially deficient doesn't make you incapable of determining right and wrong,

Exactly. If he had robbed a bank no one would be rallying to his cause. He is accused of a crime and should stand trial for it.

Re:Asperger's (4, Insightful)

sortia (1191847) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981494)

I do not think anybody id disputing that? It's the inflated costs of the damage to obtain the extradition order that is the issue.

Re:Asperger's (3, Insightful)

stagg (1606187) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981538)

Being socially deficient doesn't make you incapable of determining right and wrong,

...that's reserved for lawyers and elected politicians.

Re:Asperger's (2, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982078)

...that's reserved for lawyers and elected politicians.

and, it would appear, for the Slashot modder who can't resist giving the most predictable of cheap shots a boost-up to +4, Insightful.

Re:Asperger's (5, Insightful)

harryjohnston (1118069) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981542)

Of course he should stand trial. In the UK.

Re:Asperger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981848)

So in your opinion I can go to England and Slander people as much as I want since I'm a US citizen?

Is this why things like honor killing are on the rise in European Nations? We certainly can't try people by our laws just because they live here now can we...

Re:Asperger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981866)

So in your opinion I can go to England and Slander people as much as I want since I'm a US citizen?

No, but if you're in the US and post on bbc.co.uk's forums, slander away.

Re:Asperger's (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981868)

For crimes commited if not in a different country (yay internet blurring boundries) but upon a different country? I can certainly see why there is a debate about this.

I personally am a fan of trying people where the victims are.

Re:Asperger's (2, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982330)

So if you post a picture of Mohammad then you should be extradited and tried in Saudi Arabia, because that's where the victims of your crime* are?

Re:Asperger's (2, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982482)

If you posted pictures of Mohammed on a website or forum that falls inside the jurisdiction of a Saudi court, then I see no reason why they should not be able to apply for extradition and prosecute the case. You are conveniently forgetting that a crime occurred within the jurisdiction of the US courts here - the servers in question were on US soil, and thus they have grounds for jurisdiction.

Re:Asperger's (1)

albacrankie (1017430) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982430)

I personally am a fan of trying people where the victims are.

I guess you'll be cheering then when they extradite you to Anaplosia where it is a crime to write the word "blurring" as it is believed to cause anyone reading it to get hives.

It's not Aspergers, it's deeper than that. (5, Insightful)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982490)

That's a very slippery slope you are on. If there is a legal differential, there is a societal differential. If the difference did not exist, the laws would be in harmony. Which would imply that extradition would not be needed.

Extreme examples abound -- countries that refuse to extradite criminals that would be executed, because execution is deemed morally wrong in one jurisdiction, and morally right in another.

Now, in this case, breaking into a computer is considered wrong in both jurisdictions. Why extradite? The only reason to is to apply a different punishment. It will either be more, or less, severe. But, understand, it will be different and not in accord with the original countries societal norms.

Since the defendant is a member of the original country, and, by extension a member of its society, he should be tried in accordance with its societal norms.

It interests me that this is exactly what he requested.

It is morally wrong for the leaders of his society to permit this extradition. In doing so, they show themselves to be either weak or dismissive of the democracy that elected them. The last time I checked, the UK was a democracy, and under its own rule.

The defendant did not commit the crimes in the US, and didn't physically flee US jurisdiction. If this had occurred, I would be supportive of his extradition.

Only the most extreme sentences can overturn the right to be held accountable to ones society. These are generally (in my society) those which will also refugee status to be granted. Simple theft, breaking and entering, or computer crime come nowhere near this bar.

Allowing this extradition means that the UK government is abdicating its sovereignty. The people of the UK should push to bring down this government, as it is no longer following the rule of UK law and society.

Re:Asperger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32982502)

So the people who drew Mohammad should be tried somewhere in the Middle-East?

Re:Asperger's (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982338)

Of course he should stand trial. In the UK.

Crimes are usually prosecuted where the body falls - and not where the shot was fired.

That would allow the criminal to choose a safe venue from which to commit his crimes by remote control.

he spied on the US (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32982526)

the US should have first dibs on trying and executing him.

Re:Asperger's (5, Insightful)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981754)

To quote myself from when this discussion came up earlier:

For the sake of argument, let's say that we all agree that the crime occurred on US soil (and even that is by no means a unanimous opinion). The UK will only allow the extradition of they believe that he will receive a fair trial and (if found guilty) a reasonable punishment for the crimes he has been accused of.

This is a man with some psychological problems who appears to have made a very very stupid decision by breaking in to some poorly secured US government computers. There was little actual harm done. The consensus seems to be that in the UK he would receive a slap on the wrist, maybe some psychiatric treatment, perhaps some limitations on his future access to computers. At the time he faced a maximum of six months in a UK prison.

The US are calling him a terrorist, and lining him up for the distinct possibility of several decades, maybe even life, in a federal prison.

Do you believe he would get off lightly if extradited to the US, or do you think he would be made an example of? If the former, why? If the latter, do you think it is still fair to extradite him?

Re:Asperger's (2, Insightful)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981374)

Citing Asperger's as a medical condition to prevent extradition is silly. Being socially deficient doesn't make you incapable of determining right and wrong, if in fact he really has the condition at all considering the ridiculous amount of self-diagnosis out there. Genuine Asperger's is a form of autism and deeply impacts your life. The guy left a threat on one of the computers promising future hacks--he knew what he was doing.

This is starting to sound like another "Free Mitnick" movement, where people support a guy who legitimately deserves legal punishment just to make themselves feel compassionate.

I prefer to pass judgments, perform jury duties, and play executioner as often as possible. I find these activities benefit my society greatly, especially if they can be done before the actual court case transpires.

Re:Asperger's (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981442)

You're mixing it up. Free Mitnick was about the 3 years of no due process. It didn't matter if he was guilty or not at that point--the law states that a lack of due process means you go free. The gov't didn't do that, but should have, hence the outcry of support.

Re:Asperger's (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981458)

where people support a guy who legitimately deserves legal punishment just to make themselves feel compassionate.

Which would be more democratic and which would be more moral? Letting him go with lesson learned or legal ramifications.

Re:Asperger's (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981800)

How about letting the courts in the country where the crime may committed hold the trial? No extradition required.

Re:Asperger's (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981882)

Was it committed in the UK? Hacking into US Hardware could be analogized to breaking into house in the US.

NOT extraditing him would probably set a bad precedent - leaving every country open to cyber attacks if any crimes committed against another nation are not covered in extradition treaties.

Re:Asperger's (1, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982116)

You break into a house in the US and you are in the US.

You host pirated movies in Sweden and you can ignore DMCA requests.

Look at it this way...

I sure as hell don't want to get extradited to Saudi Arabia and be executed for premarital sex when the act is only a misdemeanor in Mississippi where it was actually committed.

Extradition, in this case, most certainly does represent a very bad precedent.

Re:Asperger's (1)

Azuaron (1480137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982214)

So don't have premarital sex in Saudi Arabia then run back to Mississippi.

Re:Asperger's (1, Insightful)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982308)

I was never in Saudi Arabia.

And McKinnon was never in America (at least while he was supposedly hacking DoD computers).

Re:Asperger's (3, Informative)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982318)

Than you don't understand how Extradition really works.

There is a reason there are Extradition treaties. Murder may be illegal in many countries but we generally still extradite them back to where the crime was committed to properly serve justice at a sentence deemed appropriate by those affected. (We'll also make note that there is no extradition treaty to Saudi Arabia, because their laws vary so much).

The ambiguity falls on where this crime was comitted, the individual was not in the States, but the information he was accessing was. The victims of the crimes are in the States and thats why it should be held there. (As there is no victim in Pre-marital Sex, it wouldn't make sense to extradite someone to the middle east either).

Not serving Extradition will only serve to sever the ties between the two nations.

Re:Asperger's (5, Insightful)

KingSkippus (799657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981466)

This is starting to sound like another "Free Mitnick" movement, where people support a guy who legitimately deserves legal punishment just to make themselves feel compassionate.

I don't think there's much argument over whether the guy should be punished. The argument is over how severely he should be punished, given that he 1) didn't cause any damage, 2) wasn't acting out of malice, and 3) was at least accomplish what he did in large part due to the incompetence of those who are, in theory, supposed to be competent in protecting themselves from such attacks.

What people are worried about is that he is going to have the book thrown at him not because of the merits of what his actions deserve, but because he caused a national embarrassment and those who prosecuted him want to use him as an example, a deterrence to others.

Plus, there's a legitimate question of jurisdiction. If I commit a crime at point A against someone at point B that is thousands of miles away, who gets to decide what the punishment is? The legal system at point A, where the crime was actually being committed, or the legal system at point B, where the target or victim of the crime is located? When dealing with the U.S., there's a general impression that it's always in the U.S. regardless of who did what where, and to be honest, there's a pretty good foundation for that impression. Cases like this don't help.

In this sense, I do not blame the British people for not wanting American "justice" slamming down on one of their own citizens. If I were British, I'd be fighting tooth and nail against this extradition, too. Not so much because I care for this particular individual, but because I wouldn't want to be extradited because I supposedly committed a crime in some other country from the comfort of the living room of my suburban castle thousands of miles away.

Re:Asperger's (3, Informative)

Albanach (527650) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981668)

Plus, there's a legitimate question of jurisdiction. If I commit a crime at point A against someone at point B that is thousands of miles away, who gets to decide what the punishment is? The legal system at point A, where the crime was actually being committed, or the legal system at point B, where the target or victim of the crime is located? When dealing with the U.S., there's a general impression that it's always in the U.S. regardless of who did what where, and to be honest, there's a pretty good foundation for that impression. Cases like this don't help.

Indeed, it's interesting that this is posted on the same day as the the Senate unanimously decides to prohibit libel tourism [slashdot.org]. The idea there was presumably that if you do something in one country, you act under that country's legal jurisdiction. Extradition would make sense if he could only be prosecuted in the US, however what he did is an offense under the UK's Computer Misuse Act and he could be appropriately punished under UK law. The only reason to demand an extradition was to inflict a much harsher punishment than the UK courts would be likely to hand down (probably less than the maximum five years).

Re:Asperger's (3, Interesting)

Zantac69 (1331461) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982028)

Indeed, it's interesting that this is posted on the same day as the the Senate unanimously decides to prohibit libel tourism. The idea there was presumably that if you do something in one country, you act under that country's legal jurisdiction. Extradition would make sense if he could only be prosecuted in the US, however what he did is an offense under the UK's Computer Misuse Act and he could be appropriately punished under UK law. The only reason to demand an extradition was to inflict a much harsher punishment than the UK courts would be likely to hand down (probably less than the maximum five years).

Apples and turnips.

The idea under the libel tourism bit is to protect free speech in the America. This is a hacking case. The hacking activity is a crime in both places - and the crime itself took place in both palces. Computer Misuse was violated in UK. Hacking was committed inside the UK, but the target was in US jurisdiction.

From my POV, he should be prosecuted in UK under the terms of Computer Misuse Act and be appropriately punished (if found guilty) under UK law. Also, he should be he should be tried under US law for his crimes committed in US jurisdiction.

The dollar figure is BS - its not like he did damage to the hardware, programs, or data. But he did hack the system...and should be punished.

And regarding the Asperger's crap - that is not an excuse.

Re:Asperger's (2, Insightful)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981740)

If I were British, I'd be fighting tooth and nail against this extradition, too. Not so much because I care for this particular individual, but because I wouldn't want to be extradited because I supposedly committed a crime in some other country from the comfort of the living room of my suburban castle thousands of miles away.

Also the low burden of proof that the US authorities need to provide is an issue. It's made a bit of a nonsense of the 'fast track' extradition process: after several years, and appeals to the House of Lords, the case is still ongoing. Would it have been so burdensome for the US to have laid an outline case before a magistrate in the first place?

Re:Asperger's (0, Flamebait)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981752)

I don't think there's much argument over whether the guy should be punished. The argument is over how severely he should be punished, given that he 1) didn't cause any damage, 2) wasn't acting out of malice, and 3) was at least accomplish what he did in large part due to the incompetence of those who are, in theory, supposed to be competent in protecting themselves from such attacks.

Speak for yourself.

I find it funny that everybody seems to have forgotten that he was searching for UFO related material, and that he found some.

The government, as should be obvious to everybody with a brain, is corrupt from top to bottom. To say that he should serve time is like saying that the mob should be paid protection money. Bullshit. The governments on both sides of the ocean are monsters. I have no doubt that Gary will be punished, but it's a dark and dirty thing and I really feel for the guy.

What's most scary is that the retarded pod people who make up the public actually support his incarceration, quoting the same feeble arguments they were taught as they grew up; who believe in the good hearts of their elected officials and the noble intentions of the military. People who think psychopaths are all violent killers who make up a tiny percentage of the population when really they proliferate in the halls of banking, government and military power.

-FL

Re:Asperger's (1)

Pulzar (81031) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981784)

3) was at least accomplish what he did in large part due to the incompetence of those who are, in theory, supposed to be competent in protecting themselves from such attacks

This is completely irrelevant. If I shoot somebody because their bodyguard is incompetent, I shouldn't receive any less of a punishment for the crime.

Re:Asperger's (1)

pz (113803) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981972)

Plus, there's a legitimate question of jurisdiction. If I commit a crime at point A against someone at point B that is thousands of miles away, who gets to decide what the punishment is? The legal system at point A, where the crime was actually being committed, or the legal system at point B, where the target or victim of the crime is located?

I am not a lawyer (otherwise I probably would already know the answer to this): if, in the United States, a person in State A, standing very close to the border with State B, fires a gun, the bullet from which kills someone standing across the border in State B, who has jurisdiction?

It seems like that sort of question would have been already answered, even if questions of crimes committed remotely through the Internet have not been fully thrashed out.

Re:Asperger's (1)

Azuaron (1480137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982296)

In that specific case, the question is very clearly answered: committing a crime (any crime) across state borders (hacking, murder, etc.) OR committing a series of the same crime across multiple states is under federal jurisdiction. Since there is not a world governing body (UN doesn't count), there's less clear-cut jurisdiction over, say, someone in Canada shooting across the border and killing someone in the US. That being said, I believe the location of the victim would determine the jurisdiction of the crime.

Of course, that's not exactly analogous to this case. McKinnon actually committed two crimes: computer misuse in the UK and hacking in the US. He should be tried for both in the respective locations.

Re:Asperger's (-1, Troll)

john82 (68332) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982036)

The argument is over how severely he should be punished, given that he 1) didn't cause any damage, 2) wasn't acting out of malice, and 3) was at least accomplish what he did in large part due to the incompetence of those who are, in theory, supposed to be competent in protecting themselves from such attacks.

1) You know for a fact there was no loss of data or access; no investigation into the break-in; and no work to prevent this from occurring again.
2) You don't consider threats to execute more hacks to be malice
3) Crime is the fault of the victim
Your logic is amazing.

What people are worried about is that he is going to have the book thrown at him not because of the merits of what his actions deserve, but because he caused a national embarrassment and those who prosecuted him want to use him as an example, a deterrence to others.

Spoken like a defense attorney who gets paid for being artful, not for seeking justice.

Plus, there's a legitimate question of jurisdiction.

If you attack US assets located on US territory and violate US laws, you have to answer to US authorities violated. There is no question of jurisdiction. The British courts would tell you the same if the situation was reversed.

Re:Asperger's (3, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982514)

If you chose to not install locks on all your doors - and indeed, you just left all your doors and windows open all the time whether you were home or not - then someone who walked in without your permission could and should be charged with trespassing.

After that, though, if you decide that you "don't feel safe anymore" and have to spend $800,000 installing locks on your doors and windows, you don't get to claim that the trespasser caused $800,000 in damages to you. You should have and could have installed those locks and improved your security anyway.

Re:Asperger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32982280)

"was at least accomplish what he did in large part due to the incompetence of those who are, in theory, supposed to be competent in protecting themselves from such attacks." ...Like that time I got a $50 fine for cleaving a ninja master in two with my trusty saber? I mean, in theory, he should've just been able to slap his palms over the blade and then kicked me in the nuts, he was a freakin' ninja master, after all.

Oh well, that's just part of the reason why pirates rule.

Re:Asperger's (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982458)

His actions crossed national boundaries. The server accessed resides in the United States, even if he was in " the comfort of the living room of my suburban castle thousands of miles away". As the server resides in the U.S., the U.S. has a claim to jurisdiction and requested extradition.

The British government could have ruled that it had jurisdiction and prosecuted the case themselves. But, they didn't.

But, none of that abrogates the fact that HE DID IT AND ADMITS TO DOING IT.

Re:Asperger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981518)

Free Hat!

Re:Asperger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981588)

--This is starting to sound like another "Free Mitnick" movement,
++This is starting to sound like another "Free Mumia" movement,

Re:Asperger's (1)

spleen_blender (949762) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981594)

Disagree. The "right" and "wrong" here though is so muddied in this situation. He left notes for the admins pointing out the holes. His "wrong" is indeed in the vein of social behavior and not moral behavior, in my opinion. If it was his moral behavior then why would he have left the notes?

Re:Asperger's (2, Interesting)

harryjohnston (1118069) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981598)

You're missing the point - Asperger's doesn't justify his crime, but it may make him unfit to stand trial, particularly if he is removed from his home and taken to a foreign nation he sees as hostile.

Re:Asperger's (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981600)

Citing Asperger's as a medical condition to prevent extradition is silly. Being socially deficient doesn't make you incapable of determining right and wrong, if in fact he really has the condition at all considering the ridiculous amount of self-diagnosis out there. Genuine Asperger's is a form of autism and deeply impacts your life.

As someone who works very closely with children diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, I can tell you that some of them are very incapable of determining right from wrong. Some of them are extremely violent, and will threaten to stab or kill the other children (these are kids in kindergarten, grade 1, grade 2). They don't understand why it is not acceptable to say and do these things.

I'm not saying that McKinnon should get away with what he did, because he shouldn't. But saying that his illness should not be taken into account is absurd and inhumane.

Re:Asperger's (2, Interesting)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981696)

As someone who was diagnosed by a professional(several in fact), I can confirm that as a kid I did not have a single clue regarding right or wrong except where it pertained to getting caught. Quite frankly it took till my early 20's before I really developed a moral code of my own.

Re:Asperger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981894)

This is called adulthood and every single human being goes through it.

Re:Asperger's (1)

dave420 (699308) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982554)

I think you'll find most people know right from wrong when they are children. But nice try.

Re:Asperger's (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982126)

I'm curious why you don't ascribe that to bad parenting. There are plenty of people in the world not diagnosed with Aspergers who lack a sense morality until caught.

Mad Parent Up! (2, Interesting)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982082)

My mother is in a very similar situation as you, she teaches children with aspergers and autism. I grew around children of all ages 5-19 that had these issues. Some of them were much worse than others but many of them definitely didn't understand right and wrong, at least not in the way you and I do.

I don't know much about the merit's of this case but if what I understand is that he wasn't malicious and actually tried to help the admins out by leaving them notes on how to fix things then this is certainly an issue of not understanding that what he did was wrong and that he thought he was helping.

Re:Asperger's (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982084)

Those behaviors would not be due to Asperger's and are very liked related to some other illness. Studies have been done [nih.gov] dismissing a link between Asperger's and violent behavior. The condition is essentially an inability to infer meaning which makes it difficult to maintain social interaction beyond literal cues. Being extremely violent and threatening to stab people is something else.

In other words, having Asperger's--if he really does at all--is not going to make you forget that hacking another country's military computers is not a severe crime.

Re:Asperger's (1)

Azuaron (1480137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982562)

His illness should not be taken into account at this stage of the criminal justice process. The proper stages are approximately:

1. Investigation

2. Arrest

3. Negotiation (plea bargain)

4. Failing 3, determination of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt (trial)

5. Upon 4, sentencing

6. Punishment/justice/whatever you want to call it

This is from a US point of view, but I don't think there's much difference on the UK side of things. Stages 1 through 4 are for establishing that a crime was committed and who committed it. AT NO POINT is the moral ability of the suspect relevant (except how it relates to the investigators in determining who committed the crime). Since this case is international, step 3 has gotten rather large and unwieldy, and that's where we're currently stuck. Three. When we get to step 5, we can talk about if his illness is relevant or not.

Side note: the ones who can't tell right from wrong? They ALSO have conduct disorder. Having Asperger's alone does not make you amoral. For this to even be relevant at step 5, antisocial personality disorder (the adult version of conduct disorder) would have to be proven. Even if it was, it's estimated that the majority of offenders in US prisons have APD, so it's not like we're more lenient with them.

Re:Asperger's (2, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981610)

It does not appear that this guy is insane. He's just a moron. He should be tried, and if found guilty, the court should take his stupidity and intent into consideration when sentencing. Because he was an idiot rather than a spy or saboteur, he will likely get a light sentence.

Re:Asperger's (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981636)

Citing Asperger's as a medical condition to prevent extradition is silly.

Well, then, it would be very appropriate in a exceedingly silly extradition request, don't you think?

Re:Asperger's (1)

Myu (823582) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981704)

Being socially deficient doesn't make you incapable of determining right and wrong...

Erm... with all due respect, if one is socially deficient to a sufficient extent, then where do they learn to distinguish between right and wrong? If I can't pick up on the cues and hints of others that I've done something inappropriate, what feedback have I to adjust my actions in future?

And incidentally, I dislike the conceptual unification going on here between "illegal" and "wrong". The idea of an Injust Law is not an oxymoron; sometimes, criminality isn't a bad thing.

Though such is probably an overly heavyweight argument to cover a guy looking for aliens on American computer systems.

Re:Asperger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32982270)

Except the law isn't unjust, wrong, or unclear. You break into computer systems you face prosecution. There's little doubt he understood what he was doing was illegal. You don't get to hid in another country and say you can't deal with being punished.

Re:Asperger's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981988)

First off, the argument is that the crime was committed in the UK, the UK has laws regarding such crimes, and the guy lives in the UK. So why must he go to the US over this? The request is that he be tried in the UK.

Second, don't understand Asperger's, plain and simple. You don't understand the value of good social skills, and how much social skills play into the legal system. People assume that if you are displaying poor social behavior, then you must feel guilty or something, you must have done something wrong. Aspies have a desire to tell the literal truth, regardless of the social consequences, and do so with terrible social behavior. They can get in allot of trouble.

Why do you think lawyers are known for being socially savvy sharks? Because they are. Because it fucking works. Having good social skills always gets you out of trouble with the law. You may not avoid punishment entirely, but you will certainly get punished less. Noone wants to punish someone they like, no matter what that person has done wrong, but we love punishing someone we don't like, even if they haven't done much.

Look at Anna Chapman. I don't think she ever stood trial much less spent more than a few weeks in custody.

You are confusing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32982072)

You are confusing law (as interpreted by some attorney general) with morals ("right", "wrong"). A mistake.

Re:Asperger's (0)

Cythrawl (941686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982258)

"Genuine Asperger's is a form of autism and deeply impacts your life." False... Aspergers is going through reclassification right now, and is probably not even going to be classed as a disability or Autism anymore, as it is SO different from the other spectrum's of Autism. It is being argued that it can be viewed as a different cognitive style, and not a disorder or a disability, Aspies just think differently, Their brain works differently, they can have "odd" traits, but nothing that deeply impacts your life. To Quote Wikipedia : "It has been argued that the genes for Asperger's combination of abilities have operated throughout recent human evolution and have made remarkable contributions to human history."

US wants to lock him up for point out our password (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981296)

US wants to lock him up for pointing out our blank password mess.

This seem to be about making him a political prisoner!

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (1, Interesting)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981428)

Correction: The US wants to try him in court for breaking US law.

He is being used as a political tool by UK politicians. The US is just doing things by the book.

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981646)

The US is just doing things by the book.

In general the law is interpreted so that the actual intent of the law is considered. In my (rather uninformed) opinion this is a classic case of bureaucrats enforcing the letter of the law to cover their own failures.

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (1)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981744)

Your facts are wrong. The "general law" applies regardless of intent.

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982408)

The actual intent of the law is one of the primary considerations for how it is enforced in anything other than a totalitarian state.

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981970)

And the proper place to do these interpretations and considerations is at his trial, which he needs to attend.

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982386)

Interpretation is done at many levels in law enforcement. Actually going to trial is often a waste of time and this is recognized pretty universally.

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982022)

Sort of.

Intent matters for how severe the crime is, but intent doesn't generally turn a crime into a non-crime. To take this to an extreme, intent is the difference between manslaughter and murder. The difference between them is intent, yes, but both are still crimes. You won't get out of a trial by saying you had no intent to cause harm. You might be found innocent of the harder crimes if the jury/judge believes you, but intending no harm doesn't make everything okay...what you *did* still matters.

In this case, whether he intended to cause harm is up for debate, but it's not for the court of public opinion to decide that...it's for a real court to decide that after a trial/evidence, etc. So, in short, he should stand trial.

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982304)

What, exactly, do you think the intent of the law is? The letter of the law seems fairly clear and the intent seems to be clear cut as well.

So, please post a detailed description of what you think the intent of the law is and reference that back to the letter of the law and explain how this in-duh-vidual did not break the intent of the law while breaking the letter of the law.

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982360)

The intent of the law is to protect "national security". It puzzles me that anyone would consider this man to be a threat to anybody other than himself.

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981444)

He didn't point out a blank password mess...he went and broke into our government computers, roamed around and exploited it. If he wanted to point out the blank password mess he would have gone and reported it. He broke in there "supposedly" looking for hidden NASA pictures. He knew he was going somewhere he wasn't supposed to be going.

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (0, Flamebait)

tiberus (258517) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981514)

It doesn't bloody matter whether he got into a system where the password was "password" or one where the password was "HD84^$#jdu7^$nhdge". It's a crime and if convicted he's a criminal.

Re:US wants to lock him up for point out our passw (4, Insightful)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981680)

Yes, assuming the government is lying, you are totally correct. If you believe McKinnon, he deleted no files, he did nothing harmful at all, and only accessed computers with no passwords protecting them. The government maintains that he download classified documents, that the machines were protected, and that he also download the computers' password files to facilitate further break-ins. He himself admits to leaving a note saying that he will continue to disrupt their networks at the highest level if they do not admit 9/11 was an inside job. He also claims that the reason the government is making up all of these "facts" to prosecute him with is that they are afraid it will get out that the army and airforce have advanced free-energy reactors and anti-gravity fields that they reverse engineered from crashed UFOs. So, to silence him they want to have him shipped to Guantanimo Bay and executed. He says he found clear evidence of UFO encounters (256 MB photos from the ISS clearly showing UFOs), and NASA documents detailing the reverse engineering of free energy reactors, but he was so excited and stoned that he forgot to save them to his computer.

-1, troll (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981902)

The dude humiliated the US Government by highlighting their criminally slipshod security practices.
Obviously, the proper reward for such civic-minded behavior is to lock him in a cage with killers and rapists.

Barack Obama Hates White People (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981316)

Just like Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and their Tea Party supporters say, Barack Obama hates white people.

Barack Obama won't intervene because he is a racist, unlike Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and the Tea Party "Patriots"

Re:Barack Obama Hates White People (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981472)

Just like Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and their Tea Party supporters say, Barack Obama hates white people.

Barack Obama won't intervene because he is a racist, unlike Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, and the Tea Party "Patriots"

Must be why he's getting the FDA to take aspirin off the market... you know... because it's white and it works!

And yet... (1)

stagg (1606187) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981340)

They still can't find enough skilled applicants for their "Cyberwarrior" squad!

Re:And yet... (1)

Rijnzael (1294596) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981436)

Finding blank passwords doesn't exactly qualify one as 'skilled'. Though it doesn't really qualify him as a threat, either. I hope if he is extradited that he'll be returned to the UK to serve out a relatively light sentence, preferably something akin to probation.

Re:And yet... (2, Interesting)

tobiah (308208) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981566)

Identifying blank passwords as a problem makes him a lot more qualified than the people the feds have been hiring!

Scapegoat and Prestige? (3, Interesting)

ceraphis (1611217) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981372)

Asperger's, you never cease to amaze me. Somehow used as a sign of genius amongst hackers while at the same time being reason you should have charges dropped.

Then why (3, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981380)

is the US Government trying to force the British Prime Minister to intervene in the Scottish courts over Meghrabi? US politicians seem to be doing their best to make Cameron feel that anti-British sentiment is alive and kicking. I quite realise that we actually are a declining little country of no great importance to the US except as a kicking boy, but they should be aware that Etonians are trained to hide their real feelings - and exact revenge at a time that suits them.

Re:Then why (3, Insightful)

Rijnzael (1294596) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981516)

Because people pursue things which hold interest to them.

Scenario 1: Obama shows leniency; McKinnon admits guilt and Obama pardons him. That shows weakness and would be ample fodder for his detractors.

Secnario 2: Obama gets up in arms about it and pursues extradition. It makes him look anti-British.

It's on the UK to fight extradition using whatever weapons are at their disposal, be it political capital or UK procedures of extradition. McKinnon's case couldn't really be more inconsequential to high-up US authorities.

Re:Then why (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981676)

McKinnon's case couldn't really be more inconsequential to high-up US authorities.

Sadly it would seem pretty inconsequential to British authorities also. They seem to have no interest at all in fighting this extradition.

Re:Then why (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32982438)

Or maybe Obama realized that the US refused to extradite know IRA terrorist for may year, despite massive evidence showing who blew up whom and when.

Re:Then why (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981606)

is the US Government trying to force the British Prime Minister to intervene in the Scottish courts over Meghrabi?

Because Meghrabi is the person who an international court found to be responsible for a plane bombing that killed 189 Americans (and 270 human beings in total)? And Meghrabi was recently released on erroneous health problems and living like a national hero in Libya?

On the other hand, McKinnon's guilty of social hacking and getting access to some NASA machines he shouldn't have had access to? And also maybe guilty of being a certifiable nutjob?

Can you spot the difference? And understand why one is a little higher priority than the other?

Interference in another country's laws (3, Insightful)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981794)

You really do not understand, do you? You say

And Meghrabi was recently released on erroneous health problems

. I do hope that you realise that you are libelling a number of Scottish doctors, as you have no evidence for that statement - many cancers do have unexpected periods of remission. Meghrabi was convicted under Scottish law - not by an International Court - and was also released under Scottish law - which, by the way, Cameron cannot legally interfere with, as it is separate from the English legal system.

You may not like Scottish law. I personally consider aspects of US Law, like your constant reference to an 18th century document to deal with 21st century issues, to be laughable. But if someone is tried, convicted and dealt with under sovereign Scottish law, US politicians have no business whatever interfering. The McKinnon case, similarly, is one of someone who should have been dealt with under English law - but the US interfered.

However, my basic point is that pissing off a new Prime Minister is likely to be counterproductive in the long term. Your failure to understand this seems to be shared by a large number of your countrymen.

Re:Interference in another country's laws (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982208)

I do hope that you realise that you are libelling a number of Scottish doctors, as you have no evidence for that statement - many cancers do have unexpected periods of remission.

I can't help it if the doctors don't understand long tail statistics or if they can't understand giving percent confidences on time spans. They gave this man three months to live over one year ago. If you are saying it's libelous for me to call them out on an error on their part then I guess I don't mind being called libelous.

Meghrabi was convicted under Scottish law - not by an International Court

The court itself was in the Netherlands [wikipedia.org]. How is that not an international court?!

- and was also released under Scottish law - which, by the way, Cameron cannot legally interfere with, as it is separate from the English legal system.

What on Earth are you talking about? Scotland is part of the UK. David Cameron is the UK Prime Minister. And you're telling me he has no grounds to interfere? I must seriously be missing something here.

You may not like Scottish law. I personally consider aspects of US Law, like your constant reference to an 18th century document to deal with 21st century issues, to be laughable.

So you're saying that none of your laws are from the 18th century? What does that even have to do with any of what we're talking about?

But if someone is tried, convicted and dealt with under sovereign Scottish law, US politicians have no business whatever interfering.

Well, let it be known that you may think I'm some dumb yank from the states but you've convinced me that Scotland has made a mockery of justice. I sincerely hope that if anything like this happens again we demand extradition instead of letting a man you found guilty of taking 270 lives walk free. And one year later he's still alive in his home country.

That's not justice and I hope you take the time to consider the families of those 270 victims when you chastise me for having laws intact and based off of an 18th century document--which somehow validates your Compassion Laws. Where's your compassion for the victims?

However, my basic point is that pissing off a new Prime Minister is likely to be counterproductive in the long term. Your failure to understand this seems to be shared by a large number of your countrymen.

I don't care what a new PM thinks. 270 people died and deserve justice. That supersedes any of your political bullshit. I've met only a handful of Scottish people and loved them all but interacting with you makes me think twice of that.

Re:Then why (1)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981614)

is the US Government trying to force the British Prime Minister to intervene in the Scottish courts over Meghrabi? US politicians seem to be doing their best to make Cameron feel that anti-British sentiment is alive and kicking. I quite realise that we actually are a declining little country of no great importance to the US except as a kicking boy, but they should be aware that Etonians are trained to hide their real feelings - and exact revenge at a time that suits them.

There is no intervening. You already let that convicted mass murderer go free to his homeland. What you are referring to is the US' discovery of that abhorrent action, and inherent need to find the truth of the matter. The truth is you let him go free. What we in the US would like to know is if it is also true that you did it to gain contracts for BP.

Re:Then why (2, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981708)

Meghrabi killed hundreds of people, and the Scottish government fucked up his punishment. That's worthy of the President's attention.

This dope hacked into some computers and nobody got killed. It's not worthy of the President's time to dick around in the legal filigree on this. At the point where it's no longer mechanistic and it seems the British government is fucking with America over the case, then it may be necessary to make a formal request from the White House to straighten it out.

Re:Then why (2, Insightful)

HBI (604924) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981710)

Oh don't believe Obama or his minions, there's no anti-Brit sentiment. Any idiot over here could tell you that. And our current occupant in the White House is one of the biggest.

Re:Then why (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981798)

Because Obama hates the British. Americans in general like the British. Supposedly, Obama holds a grudge against the British because his Kenyan grandfather was abused by the British after the Mau Mau uprising. I am not sure I believe that, but Obama has definitely shown that he has an antipathy towards the British (returning the Winston Churchill bust--not so much the returning as the timing, inapropriate courtesy gifts to the PM and the Queen).

Re:Then why (1)

john82 (68332) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982226)

Then again, it was a UK court (albeit in Scotland) which freed Meghrabi on the basis of what now appears to be a faulty medical diagnosis. So much for only having months to live.

You should also know that there is considerable speculation in the US of pleas on his behalf by British Petroleum as part of some deal with Libya to benefit BP. Whether that is true or not, BP is not particularly popular in the US right now after the little mess in the Gulf of Mexico.

What the executive branch for then? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32981564)

Yeah it's not like the executive branch is about enforcement of the law or anything. Guess the Obama will continue with good ol' Gee Dub's interpretation of creating laws instead.

More important (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32981772)

Interesting that this becomes all about McKinnon. What about the fact that he uncovered the fact that the military is running an alternate space program completely "off the books" and has hundreds of troops serving "off-planet"? Maybe one of the reasons NASA is being cut back is because the real activity is happening by the military, using their "black" budget.

People with Asperger's are not known for their ability to dissemble and come up with fanciful stories. In fact, one quality that comes up time and time again in descriptions of Asperger's sufferers is that they are unable to tell the "little white lies" that most of us tell every day in order to socialize. When meeting someone, someone with Asperger's is liable to say "You're fat!" or "You're ugly" when meeting someone, well, fat or ugly.

McKinnon found evidence of what might be a military base in outer space, but everyone wants to focus on this little legal ping-pong between the US and the UK.

Excuse me now, I have to get back to Above Top Secret.

Obama is saving him sell for the blago mess (-1, Troll)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982234)

Obama is saving him sell for the blago mess. He may be able to get away getting him off but not much more.

Explain it to me (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 3 years ago | (#32982504)

Someone, please explain to me why the President of the United States should intervene and prevent the prosecution of someone accused of committing a crime against the United State.

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