Page last updated at 11:43 GMT, Thursday, 16 December 2010

US 'should employ' hacker Gary McKinnon, peers hear

The United States should recruit computer hacker Gary McKinnon to prevent future Wikileaks revelations rather than imprisoning him, a former MP told peers during questions on 16 December 2010.

Mr McKinnon has spent the past six years facing the threat of extradition to the US after he hacked into military computers.

The 44-year-old, from Wood Green, north London, suffers from Asperger's syndrome and says he was looking for evidence of UFOs.

Baroness Browning, an MP until this year's general election, asked Home Office minister Baroness Neville-Jones: "Do you agree that in the light of the damage caused to the American government by WikiLeaks that rather than trying to imprison an autistic savant, the Pentagon would do well to employ Gary McKinnon to sort out the weaknesses in their computer system?"

Lady Neville-Jones, who did not answer the question directly, had earlier told peers that a judicial review of a decision by the previous home secretary to uphold an order for Mr McKinnon's extradition "stands adjourned".

"The home secretary is reviewing the case against the sole legal test which is whether - given Mr McKinnon's medical condition - extradition would breach his human rights," she told peers.

The home office minister said that Theresa May had asked Mr McKinnon if he would consent to a psychiatric assessment, and was awaiting a response from his solicitors.

One of the Wikileaks revelations suggested former prime minister Gordon Brown had unsuccessfully proposed a deal in August 2009 that would have allowed Mr McKinnon to serve any prison sentence in Britain.

Peers also heard questions on the impact on women of the government's economic policies, the wearing of masks at demonstrations and dialogue between Indonesia and the indigenous West Papuan opposition.


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