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back to article UK prosecutors, cops ponder new probe into NASA hacker McKinnon

UK criminal prosecution lawyers will meet cops this month to decide whether or not to open a new investigation into Pentagon-hacking Brit Gary McKinnon. Last month Home Secretary Theresa May withdrew an extradition order against the 46-year-old on medical and human rights grounds. Five psychiatrists warned there was a risk the …

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FFS Leave him alone!

You'd have thought that it would be pretty obvious that nothing is going to be achieved by prosecuting McKinnon. Poor bugger's been through hell for ten years (for effectively pushing on an open door), and still the make work tossers of the state are trying to find something to prosecute him for.

Of course, far too much like hard work to find those guilty for the near collapse of the banking system, or those who made up the "evidence" to justify war in Iraq.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FFS Leave him alone!

Why?

He CONFESSED to a CRIMINAL action!

Move to trial and end the media circus!

(A/C due to inevitable excrement storm about to be unleashed for those that feel self-confessed criminals shouldn't be punished for their illegal acts)

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Re: FFS Leave him alone!

For pushing an open door, spray painting on the walls and shouting about it

If you're going to use a shit analogy at least complete it

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Linux

Re: FFS Leave him alone!

"Move to trial and end the media circus!" -- Did you not read the article? basically, the crime occurred more than five years ago and the prosecutors must act on that crime and bring charges within 5 years of the crime being committed. This is why (as the article states) they may try to open a "new case" as no "criminal case" has ever actually been filed in the UK, only an extradition order. Basically, the opportunity to prosecute Gary in the UK has been missed, but, that will not stop the UK government from wanting to wangle a new case just to appease or US overlords and further ruin Gary's life.

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Stop

Re: FFS Leave him alone!

Go on then, tell us what public interest will be served, or what aspect of justice will be achieved by prosecuting him?

He's been punished more than enough by being hounded for a fucking decade by a vindictive foreign state for a crime that at the time had a penalty of about £500 fine in the UK. As with the Wikileaks affair, the Yanks are getting on their uppers not because any material harm has been done, but because they have been embarrassed as a result of their failure to properly secure their own systems. Personally, I don't want yet more public money wasted on this affair.

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Re: FFS Leave him alone!@ David Neil

Point taken.

But accepting that point he should have been given a reward for showing up the shoddy and amateurish US defence systems security.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FFS Leave him alone!

Explain how allowing criminal behaviour is in the public interest - Despite what many would be lead to believe, computer crime is not victimless. I work post compromise with more than enough system to know the damage/cost caused by such actions.

'What aspect of justice'? Criminals get punished, surely this is the cornerstone of any legal system?

I'm an infosec pro, and ensure I stay within my legal authorisation as a matter of professionalism. Or should we all have free reign to compromise whatever systems we like?

Bottom line: criminals should be punished. end. of.

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FAIL

Re: Re: FFS Leave him alone!

"..... the crime occurred more than five years ago...." Legally irrelevant. Not only does the Home Office hve the power to re-open the original case, since McKinnon's own confession and the American evidence all show ADDITIONAL crimes to those he was originally charged with, a new case can be opened.

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Re: FFS Leave him alone!

> Bottom line: criminals should be punished. end. of.

Statute of limitations. Public interest (or not) in a public prosecution...

These and more factors are routinely considered when deciding whether to pursue criminals (or alleged criminals) and rightly so. Ignorant application of any mechanism based on some hard-on inducing desire to punish is wanted nowhere in the world outside the boudoirs of the roght-wing, compassion less, hang -em flog' em brigade.

And any argument that concludes with the phrase "end. of." should be summarily dismissed.

End. Of.

Erm...

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Facepalm

Re: FFS Leave him alone!

"UK prosecutors will review whether McKinnon, who lives in north London, can be tried in Britain"

Astounding, I would have thought this would have already been established a long time ago as part of the extradition will-we-won't-we shenanigans. Or maybe it was purposely not looked into, because if it turned out he was prosecutable in UK it would have undermined the extradition case?

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Linux

Re: FFS Leave him alone!

"Legally irrelevant. Not only does the Home Office hve the power to re-open the original case, since McKinnon's own confession and the American evidence all show ADDITIONAL crimes to those he was originally charged with, a new case can be opened." -- It's going to need to be a rather convincing argument as the UK has had the opportunity on more than one occasion to try this case, but, they were all too keen to pack Gary off to America for an example to made, which has now fallen through. I don't think a prison sentence is disproportionate for the "crime" Gary has admitted to committing, maybe some community service talking to skiddies that think that DDOS and that kind of crap is acceptable.

I'm not saying that Gary should be able to escape some punishment, but, realistically, if a "Hacker" had done to my systems what he did to NASA; I would be absolutely embarrassed and ashamed that I had allowed such a breach to occur. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me ....

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Facepalm

Re: FFS Leave him alone!

"I don't think a prison sentence is disproportionate for" -- Bugger! I DO think a prison sentence is disproportionate.

That'll teach me not to rephrase my sentences and fail to read through them before posting!

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Re: FFS Leave him alone!

"Bottom line: criminals should be punished. end. of"

I don't think anyone here is arguing that criminals should not be punished, but that the punishment should fit the crime. Extradition + lifetime sentence in a maximum security prison in a country notorious for the prisoner abuse in it's jails is a tad over-reacting.

Especially when combined with the US hypocrisy by which the "punishment" for approving, legalising and enabling torture is a host of fancy posts (Messrs Cheney, Rumsfeld, Yoo et al), the "punishment" for selling toxic assets and causing the global economy to melt down is at most some fines and extra regulation for banks but nothing at all for bankers etc etc

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Cruel and unusual punishment.

You are wrong to say:

> the opportunity to prosecute Gary in the UK has been missed,

It never existed. People shpuld not be at the mercy of lawmakers who can't make up their minds what the bloody law is. If they can't understand it how the hell do they expect anyone else to? No case to answer.

Besides which as the accused's repreresentaive says:

"If this was the case it would mean they could have prosecuted Gary in 2002 and saved our family more than 10 years of absolute misery which has destroyed Gary’s life and caused his mental health to deteriorate further, and has all but ruined our lives too,"

This 10 uear long scandal is torture and McKinnon should be able to claim compensation from the British bunglers involved. Screw the USA. When they finally get around to shooting that Chimpanzee, releasing all those innocent people incarcerated in Cuba and stop the rapes and murders in Iraq and Afghanistan, maybe the rest of the world should than begin to consider them a safe country to return their refugees to.

And never in my life time, ever consider sending any Brits to the bastards. Not unless it is one of us that assassinated one of their presidunces and is to recieve a medal, money and honours for the act of humanity.

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Anonymous Coward

Additional crimes?

" since McKinnon's own confession and the American evidence all show ADDITIONAL crimes to those he was originally charged with"

McKinnon's 'confessed' he accessed passwordless WindowsNT computers. What additional evidence, what additional crimes?

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Re: FFS Leave him alone!

" those that feel self-confessed criminals shouldn't be punished for their illegal acts"

I would think having your life utterly destroyed is punishment enough.

or does that not count because its not "official" punishment ? You need to get out more.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FFS Leave him alone!

"He CONFESSED to a CRIMINAL action!"

Ever been on the receiving end of someone who wants to advance his public service career by sodding some poor bastard? You would confess to committing mass suicide if they want you to.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: FFS Leave him alone!

Can't feel too sorry for him as it's his fault, or more likely his family and "friends", who have dragged this out. He's admitted the hack and his only defence is that he's stupid, if we let every stupid criminal off would this be in the public interest?

The idea that two wrongs make a right - America is evil, government is evil, sys admins who can't secure there system should be hacked etc. - is even more wrong.

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Re: FFS Leave him alone!

".......Extradition + lifetime sentence in a maximum security prison......" McKinnon wasn't threatened with either, indeed if he had co-operated he would have done minimum time in a low-security prison countryclub and been back in Blighty years ago. All his "suffering" has been self-inflicted.

"......Especially when combined with the US hypocrisy....." Oh, so it's OK if I come round and kick a clue into your thick head, you won't complain or consider it criminal assault because it's nothing compared to the crimes of Stalin and the Gulags!?!?!?! You are today's winner of the Monumental Failure To Keep At Least One Foot In Reality. I'm sure your parents will be very proud of you as it's probably the biggest achievement in your life.

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@AC 15:09 re: "Bottom line: criminals should be punished. end. of."

I am glad you do not hold a position of power in my country.

Individuals who violate the law should be evaluated objectively, justly and compassionately by qualified professionals in an attempt to find the best possible way to educate them about the incorrectness of their actions with an eye towards rehabilitation and reentering society as a fully-fledged and trusted citizen with all the rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities held by any citizen.

Individuals who violate the law in a fashion which causes severe harm should be evaluated by both qualified professionals and a jury of their peers in an attempt to classify the severity of their transgression and whether or not it is possible for the individual to be rehabilitated at all.

If it is not possible to rehabilitate the individual – and there are indeed some who cannot be helped – then we should be removing these individuals from society completely. (Lifelong imprisonment.) Here they should be asked to perform some level of productive service for their care, if possible, but overall society should be prepared to bear the burden of maintaining these individuals as the moral and ethical alternative to execution.

At no point should punishment or revenge enter into the deliberations of the treatment of any individual, regardless of the transgression. A civilised society rehabilitates its offenders, it does not punish them.

If you feel the burning need to live in a society focused on punishment, move to the United States of America. At the beginning of 2011, fully 0.73% of the US population was incarcerated, having peaked at 0.754% in 2009. Their prison system is operating at 136% of capacity, housing 23% of the world's prisoners whilst having only 5% of the world's population.

Prisoners released from America's penal system – which does indeed focus on "punishment" versus revenge – have one of the highest reoffence rates in the world. (67% within three years.) This has largely been attributed to the appalling conditions within the prison system that dehumanise prisoners with a focus on punishment rather than rehabilitation.

Even if you have no care for people, or enjoy seeing others "pay" for mistakes, try to grasp the sheer terrible economics of a "punishment"-based system. Human beings are the most capable labour device available, especially for non-repetitive or creative tasks. It is simply bad business to pay for ongoing storage and maintenance of human capital which could otherwise be made profitable with a relatively minor upfront investment.

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FAIL

Re: @AC 15:09 re: "Bottom line: criminals should be punished. end. of."

What a load of PC twaddle! Of course there should be an element of revenge in the sentence as not to include one is to not consider the victims of crime, they NEED to know the perp has been punished. The problem with all the goshdarnlovely PC approach of tenderly caring for the "poor criminal" is it is so far from reality as to be laughable, it simply ignores the victims. The criminals made their choices, they had their trials, they get sentenced and sure, stick some rehabilitation in there on the off-chance one of them will actually relaise their mistake, but make sure they get a good dollop of punishment to make sure they think twice about re-offencing when the rehabilitation doesn't stick. People that commit crimes are usually looking for a shortcut to something, and a rehabilitation simply will not correct that desire for takling shortcuts in 99% of cases. Making prison an "easy ride" by removing the punishment element just removes the deterant value.

In Manning's case he obvioulsy needs treatment and should plead not guilty due to psychological issues, then they can lock him up in a secure unit for his fifty years and treat him there.

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Re: @AC 15:09 re: "Bottom line: criminals should be punished. end. of."

Revenge never helped anything. It doesn't help the victims in any way. Part of proper rehabilitation, however, often involves restitution to victims. Especially in the case of non-violent crimes.

Your absolute bullshit about "rehabilitation simply will not correct that desire for takling shortcuts in 99% of cases" shows only your complete misunderstanding of not only psychology, but all the various factors that cause offences in the first place.

Quite frankly Mr. Bryant, you're a goddamend asshole with a bigoted, prejudiced view of the world and people who live in it. You don't allow science to guide your decisions and that makes you flat out dangerous when it comes to matters beyond the technical realm.

I, for one, am not only glad you are not someone in a position of power in my country, I am proud that only the most backwards areas of my nation elect individuals espousing such utter twaddle. The optimal future for humanity lies in treating every one of like human beings, regardless of race, religion, nationality, sexuality, height, weight, gender or even the mistakes they've made in their past.

This doesn't mean we must't learn from our mistakes – we must – but not only must the restitution we enact fit the offence we commit, it should be geared towards education and rehabilitation, not revenge.

In all of human history, revenge has begat nothing excepting more revenge. I'm glad to live amongst those that have begun to understand that.

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FAIL

Re: @AC 15:09 re: "Bottom line: criminals should be punished. end. of."

For someone that pretends to understand psychology you have an incredibly blinkered view of humanity. Don't tell me, you believe that all criminals, no matter their crimes, can be "fixed" with a little compassion, right? So what about Stalin or Hitler, they were humans, and supposedly quite intelligent, but I can't see you "fixing" them with a few kind words and hugs. How about Beverly Alitt or just career muggers like Eric Banton? People come in all shapes and sizes and outlooks, and many will quite calmly justify quite awful actions you or I would never consider rational. Whilst your faith in humanity is amusingly touching, history both past and modern would seem to show the naïveté of your beliefs. Treating human beings as human beings means accepting that we are all just that, just human, and in many ways less "socially noble" than the great apes in the wild. Willful failure to comprehend that we are all imperfect beings will only lead to eventual and painful disillusionment. I suggest you get a clue now otherwise you will probably end up getting one later in a more painful manner.

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Anonymous Coward

Evidence

Originally arrested by a now defunct unit and the Americans had all their own evidence.

You can bet they will have some issues finding and piecing together enough of their own evidence to make the case.

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Linux

Re: Evidence

I'm sure that the Americans will provide the evidence they had already gathered and present it to the UK authorities, whom will likely view it as "new evidence" from their point of view.

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Re: Evidence

Well for the UK authorities it will be new evidence as they have never seen it (supposedly).

I think he has been punished quite a lot by this farce already but he did after all commit a criminal act. For this reason I feel something more needs to be done but as to what I will leave that up to people more in the know than I. Just don't make it too harsh.

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Stop

Re: Evidence

> ...the evidence they had already gathered...

That'll be ten and eleven year old logs from systems which were effectively open door? That's assuming that they haven't been completely fabricated in the intervening years.

IANAL, but I reckon that even I could make a good stab at discrediting that evidence.

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Re: Evidence

> "You can bet they will have some issues finding and piecing together enough of their own evidence to make the case."

Agreed.

And it very effectively demonstrates that the UK doesn't bother to independently find out whether someone might have committed the offences that Uncle Sam is accusing them of.

US says "Extradite that person!".

UK says "Certainly! They'll be on the next plane."

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Criminal prosecution still required ...

... for the admins who plunked sensitive systems on the Internet with blank or trivial passwords.

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Linux

Re: Criminal prosecution still required ...

I agree, it's virtually the same as leaving secret or confidential documents on the tube or in a park bin

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Criminal prosecution still required ...

You are proposing punishing the victim.

If I left my house open and it was burgled, I may well forfeit my insurance, but the person burgling it would still be prosecuted.

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Trollface

Re: Criminal prosecution still required ...

"If I left my house open and it was burgled, I may well forfeit my insurance, but the person burgling it would still be prosecuted"

Oh fuck off! It isn't you fucking house. It's the Internet - you might have heard of it - a new-fangled system of tubes for allowing people's computers to talk to other people's computers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Criminal prosecution still required ... @Steen Hive

Does this wonder of modern technology allow you to look up what "analogy" means? If so, try "maturity" as well.

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Re: Criminal prosecution still required ...

Except in this case it's not so much a house as a military installation. I'm spitballing, but the national security implications might mean there should be some legal liability for leaving the doors wide open.

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Re: Criminal prosecution still required ...

To use the door analogy:

If your job was to lock and guard the door to a military installation, but you left it open and unguarded for weeks (if not longer) and somebody wandered inside, you'd be court-martialled for dereliction.

Even if it was just a civilian office block you were supposed to guard you'd get fired.

Finally, in the UK the ones wandering in would probably have squatters' rights by now!

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Facepalm

Re: Re: Criminal prosecution still required ...

"..... It isn't you fucking house....." Completely agree, the original poster should have used the term "playhouse" or "dolls' house" to bring it down to a level that Steen Hive would comprehend.

"......you might have heard of it...." Steen obviously didn't hear that there are these things called laws which prohibit the type of activity McKinnon has already confessed to. I suggest Steen you go read up on them before you make yourself look even more stupid.

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Abuse of process

I'm not a human rights expert, but this smacks of abuse of process. The CPS had every opportunity to prosecute in the UK. They *repeatedly* declined. Now the US has been bitchslapped by the Home Secretary (of all people !) they suddenly decide they *do* want to prosecute ?

Hopefully there's a trial judge that agrees with me.

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FAIL

Re: Abuse of process

".....Hopefully there's a trial judge that agrees with me." I don't think any of them smoke enough illegal substances to reach that level of unreality.

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Re: Abuse of process

We live in hope ... occasionally judges can really stick it to the man ....

Mr Rahmatullah, a Pakistani citizen, was transferred to US forces after

being detained by British forces in February 2004 in an area of Iraq under

US control. Shortly after that, the UK authorities became aware that US

forces intended to transfer him out of Iraq. That transfer took place

without the UK having been informed of it. By June 2004 UK officials knew

that Mr Rahmatullah was no longer in Iraq. He had been taken to

Afghanistan and was being held in a detention facility in Bagram Air Field

and there he has remained. On 15 June 2010 the recommendation of a

detainee review board of the US army that Mr Rahmatullah be released was

approved by a senior officer but this has not taken place.

Although the legality of Mr Rahmatullah’s detention did not need to be

determined for the purposes of this appeal, there was clear prima facie

evidence that he is detained unlawfully under the Geneva Convention. The

UK was under a duty to ensure that Mr Rahmatullah was not being held in

breach of the GC or to request his return.

link

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Abuse of process

The process is - If a crime is committed which could be prosecuted in more than one jurisdiction, the first jurisdiction to prosecute or to state their intention to prosecute (usually by requesting extradition) is the one that gets to prosecute. Proceedings to prosecute can't be undertaken by the other until such a time as the case has been dropped by the prosecuting jurisdiction.

There is, of course, the double jeopardy rule which prevents trying or punishing twice for the same crime. This applies in the USA (not sure about UK) even to crimes punished in an other country.

I happen to think that you're right about the Home Secretary being told to sort it out by the US, I just happen to think that it's rightly so. She is behaving like a massive hypocrite here, using the human rights act, which she wants repealed to prevent the prosecution of a nice white anglo-saxon protestant, just days after sending other people to the USA having completely ignored the Human Rights Act. This is an example of a very easy decision for her to make, odd that a series of previous people in her position didn't make that decision. I can't help thinking that there is a lot we don't know about the case as the government as playing their cards close to their chest and the only information we have seems to be sourced form the McKinnon camp.

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Anonymous Coward

It's time for this circus to end..

.. because it has really turned into flat out harassment.

Doesn't this stuff expire at some point? It's not like he has killed someone or (as far as I know) harmed people other than the egos of people who should know better than to place sensitive systems on the Net without better protection, and screwing up 10 years of this guys' life ought to be enough punishment.

Just my two cents..

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jke
Paris Hilton

Re: It's time for this circus to end..

Fine him £5.00 for making the US government look stupid, as if we need more evidence of this, and have an end to it.

Paris Because. Just because.

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Big Brother

Re: It's time for this circus to end..

Gary didn't make them look stupid.

They've being doing that for years quite successfully, all on their own, without any outside help.

As has ours, before anyone accuses me of partisan bias.

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The US should be thankful..

..that it was McKinnon poking around on the their "secure" systems looking for a UFO cover-up rather than a foreign power looking to steal secrets and subvert systems.

I'd say the following security review probably served them well in the long run. He should be getting paid for his exposure of the sloppy security they had in place prior to being caught, not banged up.

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Re: The US should be thankful..

NASA's systems are still just as insecure a decade later...

http://oig.nasa.gov/audits/reports/FY11/IG-11-017.pdf

If there was a security review - someone should be done for defrauding NASA out of a bunch of cash

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FAIL

Re: The US should be thankful..

".....He should be getting paid...." Please supply your home address and one thousand sterling and I'll send some lads around to "appraise" your home security. I'm sure you'll be happy to pay for us to steal all your belongings because your locks aren't up to Fort Knox standards. Cretin.

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Re: The US should be thankful..

Well if my house was full of gold bars then maybe I should fit Fort Knox style locks, however from what i gather these systems were effectively locked doors with the key left in the lock, by your reasoned logic the information on the NASA and Military systems wasn't worth securing properly until after someone tried to nick it... real smart

But props to you for calling me a cretin, I am suitably chastised

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The US should be thankful..

You don't issue an "rm -rf" or leave political messages about a government's foreign policy, if all you are looking for is UFOs.

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says:

The way things are going it will probably turn out the real hacker was Jimmy Savile anyway.

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WTF?

The never-ending David Blunkett effect

David Blunkett was the bum who negotiated this subservient extradition agreement.

The case should be dropped for lack of prosecution.

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