Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Gary McKinnon, 40, of London has been indicted in New Jersey and Virginia for allegedly hacking into U.S. government computers between February 2001 and March 2002. He was arrested in 2002 and has fought his extradition by claiming he could face prosecution under U.S. anti-terror laws.
"My intention was never to disrupt security. The fact that I logged on and there were no passwords means that there was no security," McKinnon said, outside the hearing at London's Bow Street Magistrates Court. "I was looking for UFOs."
Court records in Virginia said McKinnon caused $900,000 in damage to computers, including those of private companies, in 14 states.
In New Jersey, he is accused of hacking into a network of 300 computers at the Earle Naval Weapons Station in Colts Neck, N.J., and stealing 950 passwords.
The break-in - which occurred immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks - shut down the whole system for a week, Judge Nicholas Evans said. The station is responsible for replenishing the Atlantic fleet's munitions and supplies.
Though McKinnon was able to view sensitive details about naval munitions and shipbuilding on the secure U.S. systems, he did not access classified information, an investigation found.Source