Hacker in tears at thought of US trial


THE Scottish mother of Gary McKinnon, the computer hacker who yesterday lost his appeal against extradition to the United States, is terrified her son will now die in prison.

Mr McKinnon, 42, described as the "biggest military hacker of all time", faces up to 70 years in jail if convicted in the US of sabotaging vital defence systems.


Lawyers for Mr McKinnon, who was born in Glasgow but lives in Enfield, north London, pointed out that he could be sent to Guantanamo Bay as a terrorist suspect – despite his insistence that he had accessed military computers looking for information about UFOs.

Last night, his mother, Janis Sharp, 59, a composer and musician, said her unemployed son had burst into tears when told the news.

She said: "I am terrified, absolutely terrified, that he will be locked up for 60 or 70 years for a crime that would get him community services or, at the most, two years in Britain.

"We are all very upset, as this is our worst nightmare. Had he murdered someone or raped someone, I could understand such a sentence, but for hacking into a computer?

"He has been an idiot, a fool, for doing what he did, but does he deserve to die in a US prison, or 'fry' as they said he might, because he used a dial-up computer to look for information on aliens?"

From the bedroom of his girlfriend's aunt's house in north London, Mr McKinnon hacked into 96 computers between 2001 and 2002. He never denied he had wandered around the computer networks of a wide number of US military institutions. But he always maintained he was motivated by curiosity and that he managed to get into them only because of lax security.

Buck up mom he is not going to Gitmo. If he gets a wiser lawyer in the US he should try to cut a deal to go to work for the FBI or CIA to put his skills to some lawful purpose. If he continues to act like a ninny he will probably get some prison time to encourage hackers not to try this again.

BTW, the hacker claims he was looking for information on space aliens. This report suggest that half of the Brits believe in captive space aliens. Maybe we can find a correctional facility near Area 51 for him.


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