Former military advisor urges US to pardon Gary McKinnon - to help recruit more hackers
US authorities have refused to formally drop charges against Asperger’s sufferer
British computer hacker Gary McKinnon should be pardoned by US President Barack Obama in a bid to court others who may want to work for the American government, a former military advisor has said.
Asperger’s sufferer Mr McKinnon, who was accused of the “biggest military computer hack of all time”, fended off attempts to extradite him to America last year. But he is still officially wanted by US authorities, who refused to formally drop charges against him, despite the British Home Secretary’s decision to keep him at home.
John Arquilla, a US Naval Postgraduate School professor and advisor to former American Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, said that the gesture could help in a drive to recruit “master hackers”.
In the journal Foreign Policy, Mr Arquilla wrote: “If the notion of trying to attract master hackers to our cause is ever to take hold, this might be just the right case in which President Obama should consider using his power to pardon.
“One presidential act of mercy, such as in the case of McKinnon, won’t entirely repair relations or build trust between hackers and the government, but it would be a strong signal of officialdom’s growing awareness of the wisdom of embracing and employing the skills of these masters of their virtual domain.”
The US authorities have cracked down on hackers in recent years but plans were announced last week to increase the size of the US Cyber Command to about 5,000 hackers as America attempts to take the online fight to China, which he said is more supportive of its own hacking community.
He wrote: “Hackers may be courted and pampered in China, Russia, and other countries, but in the United States they are often hunted by lawmen. The judicial system is very tough on them, too.” This problem, he argued, could be partially solved by pardoning Mr McKinnon.
Mr McKinnon’s extradition was blocked by Home Secretary Theresa May on humanitarian grounds. His supporters argued that he suffered from depression and could kill himself if put on trial in America, where he faced up to 70 years in jail. Ms May tabled amendments to laws governing extradition, proposing to allow courts to block removals if a judge believed justice could be served by the defendant standing trial in the UK.
Look beyond the usual shows for the best festive telly
The battle for control of Stieg Larsson's £30m legacy
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Michelle Nijhuis' daughter insists (s)he is, and she learnt a valuable lesson on gender in books
Kennington bus crash: 32 injured after double decker hits tree in south London
Robin Thicke named sexist of the year 2013
PAs cleared of fraud - and Nigella Lawson left reeling at 'ridiculous sideshow' of drug allegations and public dissection of marriage to Charles Saatchi
Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
Apollo Theatre collapse: Scores injured after ceiling collapses in London's West End
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
- 1 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 2 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber is 'retiring from music'
- 3 Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
- 4 Cycle death inquest: Boyfriend hugs driver of 32 tonne tipper truck that killed his girlfriend
- 5 Burglar steals video tapes of child abuse, hands them into police
- < Previous
- Next >