Gary McKinnon (born 10 February 1966) is a Scottish systems administrator and hacker who was accused in 2002 of perpetrating the "biggest military computer hack of all time," although McKinnon himself â€“ who has a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome â€“ states that he was merely looking for evidence of free energy suppression and a cover-up of UFO activity and other technologies potentially useful to the public. On 16 October 2012, after a series of legal proceedings in Britain, Home Secretary Theresa May withdrew his extradition order to the United States.
McKinnon is accused of hacking into 97 United States military and NASA computers over a 13-month period between February 2001 and March 2002, at his girlfriend's aunt's house in London, using the name 'Solo'.
The US authorities claim he deleted critical files from operating systems, which shut down the United States Armyâ€™s Military District of Washington network of 2,000 computers for 24 hours. McKinnon also posted a notice on the military's website: "Your security is crap". After the September 11 attacks in 2001, he deleted weapons logs at the Earle Naval Weapons Station, rendering its network of 300 computers inoperable and paralyzing munitions supply deliveries for the US Navy's Atlantic Fleet. McKinnon is also accused of copying data, account files and passwords onto his own computer. US authorities claim the cost of tracking and correcting the problems he caused was over $700,000.
While not admitting that it constituted evidence of destruction, McKinnon did admit leaving a threat on one computer:
"US foreign policy is akin to Government-sponsored terrorism these days â€¦ It was not a mistake that there was a huge security stand down on September 11 last year â€¦ I am SOLO. I will continue to disrupt at the highest levels â€¦ "
US authorities claim that McKinnon is trying to downplay his own actions. A senior military officer at the Pentagon told The Sunday Telegraph: "US policy is to fight these attacks as strongly as possible. As a result of Mr McKinnon's actions, we suffered serious damage. This was not some harmless incident. He did very serious and deliberate damage to military and Nasa computers and left silly and anti-America messages. All the evidence was that someone was staging a very serious attack on US computer systems."
Statements to the Media
McKinnon has admitted in many public statements that he obtained unauthorised access to computer systems in the United States including those mentioned in the United States indictment. He claims his motivation, drawn from a statement made before the Washington Press Club on 9 May 2001 by "The Disclosure Project", was to find evidence of UFOs, antigravity technology, and the suppression of "free energy", all of which he claims to have proven through his actions.
In an interview televised on the BBC's click programme, McKinnon claimed that he was able to get into the military's networks simply by using a Perl script that searched for blank passwords; in other words his report suggests that there were computers on these networks with the default passwords active.
In his interview with the BBC, he also claimed of "The Disclosure Project" that "they are some very credible, relied-upon people, all saying yes, there is UFO technology, there's anti-gravity, there's free energy, and it's extraterrestrial in origin and [they've] captured spacecraft and reverse engineered it." He said he investigated a NASA photographic expert's claim that at the Johnson Space Center's Building 8, images were regularly cleaned of evidence of UFO craft, and confirmed this, comparing the raw originals with the "processed" images. He claimed to have viewed a detailed image of "something not man-made" and "cigar shaped" floating above the northern hemisphere, and assuming his viewing would be un-disrupted owing to the hour, he did not think of capturing the image because he was "bedazzled", and therefore did not think of securing it with the screen capture function in the software at the point when his connection was interrupted.
In 2006, a Freedom of Information Act request was filed with NASA for all documents pertaining to Gary McKinnon. NASA's documents consisted of printed news articles from the Slashdot site, but no other related documents. This is consistent with NASA employees browsing internet articles about Gary McKinnon; the records of such browsing activity are in the public domain.The FOIA documents have been uploaded to the Internet for review, and can be downloaded