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U.K. Blocks Extradition Of Hacker Accused Of Accessing Pentagon Computers

Briton Gary McKinnon in 2009.
Shaun Curry
AFP/Getty Images
Briton Gary McKinnon in 2009.

Gary McKinnon, who the U.S. government says perpetrated the biggest military computer hack of all time, will not be extradited to the U.S. from Britain,CNN reports.

The network adds:

"Home Secretary Theresa May said McKinnon's Asperger syndrome and depressive illness meant 'there is such a high risk of him ending his own life that a decision to extradite would be incompatible with his human rights.'

"Gary McKinnon has admitted to breaking into computers at NASA and the Pentagon but says he did so to find out if the U.S. government was covering up the existence of UFOs.

"The 46-year-old has fought a decade-long battle against extradition."

May added that now it is up British prosecutors to determine whether McKinnon will face charges at home.

McKinnon's mother Janis Sharp was delighted at the news.

"Thank you Theresa May from the bottom of my heart. I always knew you had the strength and courage to do the right thing," she told the BBC.

This is a big deal, the BBC reports, because it is "the first time a home secretary had stepped in to block an extradition under the current treaty with the U.S."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.