British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he expects a decision to be made about the fate of hacker Gary McKinnon in “weeks rather than months”.
In an interview with Tom Bradby, a reporter with ITN TV news, Cameron explained that the Home Secretary’s decision about whether McKinnon would be extradited to the USA or not was “complicated”.
McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, was arrested seven years ago after breaking into computers belonging to the US Army, US Navy, US Air Force, Department of Defense and NASA.
The 44-year-old hacker claims that he accessed the computer systems only to hunt for top secret information about anti-gravity propulsion systems and alien technology, which he believed the authorities were hiding from the public.
For their part, the US authorities claim that McKinnon caused some $800,000 worth of damage.
In May, British Home Secretary Theresa May put McKinnon’s extradition on hold, giving her time to examine medical evidence that McKinnon could be too vulnerable to cope with extradition to the United States.
McKinnon has had an impressive support group campaigning for him, with figures such as Sting, London Mayor Boris Johnson, former Beirut hostage Terry Waite, Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, and Julie Christie amongst those backing his fight against extradition.
And it’s not just celebrities. In 2009, a Sophos poll of 550 IT professionals found that 71% believed that McKinnon should not be extradited to the USA.