British computer hacker Gary McKinnon may be extradited to the US after prosecutors in the UK refused to bring charges against himfor allegedly carrying out "the biggest military computer hack of all time.''
Gary McKinnon was arrested by British police in 2002 after the US authorities accused him of breaking into 97 computers belonging to the Pentagon, NASA, and the US Army and navy computers and had damaging systems worth $700,000 after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.
McKinnon has admitted breaking into the US military systems by using a program called "RemotelyAnywhere", where he was able to gain access with default passwords of the US military computer systems but said that he was merely looking for evidence of aliens and unidentified flying objects.
But the US authorities have said that McKinnon broke into the US defense systems on four different occasions and stole 950 passwords and deleted files at a naval base in New Jersey as well as bought down 2,000 military computer systems in Washington for 24 hours.
Suffering from Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, which is diagnosed as a neurological disorder where a person displays obsessive behaviour and complete lack of social interaction.
His parents and lawyers had hoped that by being prosecuted in the UK, where the sentence would be less severe than the life sentence that awaits him if prosecuted in the US.
In 2006 a British court ruled that McKinnon should face trial in the US and should be extradited, when he pleaded with director of public prosecutions (DPP) to prosecute in Britain.
Now, that the British DPP has decided not to press any charges against McKinnon in the UK, it is likely that the US department of justice will call for his extradition to stand trial in the US.
The Crown Prosecution Service said that the case was best decided if it was settled in the US as the target and the damage were transatlantic, adding that this was not just a simple case of random experiment but a deliberate effort to hack and damage the US defense system at a critical time as documented by the US authorities.
The court ruling has angered ordinary Britons, who feel that the US is just trying to cover its embarrassment, where an autism patient could crack the world's most secure military computers after the 9/11 attacks and make McKinnon a scapegoat for its unsecured systems.
The National Autistic Society has said that some people with Asperger Syndrome develop an intense, sometimes obsessive interest in a hobby or subject and are often people with above-average intelligence and have difficulty at times in knowing when to start or end a conversation as well as finding it difficult to understand jokes, metaphors, and sarcasm.
This rare disorder was portrayed excellently by the US actor Dustin Hoffman in the movie 'Rainman', where Hoffman had spent months in a clinic studying the behavior of autism patients.
His lawyers have argued that he is incapable of handling himself in the US and could even commit suicide if extradited.