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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 April 2007, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK
I'm no terrorist, says UK hacker
Gary McKinnon
Gary McKinnon could face a prison sentence of 45 years
A Briton has denied being a "cyber terrorist" as he faces extradition to the US, accused of what was called the "biggest military computer hack ever".

Glasgow-born Gary McKinnon, of north London, is accused of gaining access to 97 US military and Nasa computers.

The High Court rejected his claim that the extradition, granted by the home secretary, breaches his human rights.

Mr McKinnon said labelling his hacking into US military systems as cyber terrorism was "blinking ridiculous".

"Prosecute to the max"

Speaking on BBC Radio Four's PM programme, he said today's legal ruling brought him a step closer to losing his liberty.

Earlier his lawyers had told the court that the 41 year-old had been subjected to "improper threats".

Mr McKinnon said; "I was told that if I didn't cross the pond like a good little boy then they (the US government) would prosecute me to the max.

"I was also told by the New Jersey authorities that they'd like to see me fry."

He said he knew what he had done, but said American claims about the level of damage he had caused to government computers were "ridiculous."

No grounds for appeal

The $5,000 price tag the Pentagon and other branches of the US government had placed on his hacking enabled them to fast-track his extradition from Britain, he claimed.

Earlier his lawyers had argued that, if extradited, he would face an unknown length of time in pre-trial detention, with no likelihood of bail.

He would also face a long prison sentence - "in the region of 45 years" - and may not be allowed to serve part of the sentence at home in the UK, his lawyers had said.

But Lord Justice Maurice Kay and Mr Justice Goldring dismissed his legal challenge, saying they could not find any grounds for appeal.

Ben Cooper, for Mr McKinnon, said his client would now seek to make an appeal against his extradition at the House of Lords.

I'm facing 40 years because the US military systems have blank passwords and no firewalls
Gary McKinnon

"We will certainly be applying for this court to certify a point of law of public importance and to grant leave," he said.

"This could lead to him spending the rest of his life in prison in the US, with repatriation to serve his sentence in his home country denied as punishment for contesting his extradition."

See sense

Mr McKinnon has never denied that he accessed the computer networks of a wide number of US military institutions between February 2001 and March 2002.

Since his arrest in November 2002, he has maintained that he was motivated by curiosity.

"I'm facing 40 years because the US military systems have blank passwords and no firewalls," he said.

"I'm hoping the law may see some more sense than we've seen so far."

Profile: Gary McKinnon
03 Apr 07 |  Technology
British hacker fights extradition
14 Feb 07 |  Glasgow and West
McKinnon's extradition condemned
07 Jul 06 |  Technology
Go-ahead for hacker's extradition
06 Jul 06 |  Technology

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