Gary McKinnon was charged by the U.S. with the “biggest military computer hack of all time” in 2001 and 2002 after looking for information about UFOs and extraterrestrials in NASA and Pentagon computers. He fought extradition to the U.S. in a ten-year legal battle. And McKinnon won that battle in October 2012 when British Home Secretary Theresa May announced that the UK would not extradite him.
UK officials decided in December 2012 that McKinnon would not be investigated or charged in the UK. But he is still wanted in the U.S. to face the charges against him. But that could soon change if the U.S. heeds the advice of military consultant John Arquilla.
According to the Guardian, Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis at the US Naval Postgraduate School, has suggested that President Obama should pardon McKinnon. Arquilla believes pardoning McKinnon would be a gesture that could improve relations between hackers and the government, which would make it easier for the government to attract hackers to government jobs.
Arquilla recently wrote, “If the notion of trying to attract master hackers to our cause is ever to take hold, this might be just the right case in which President Obama should consider using his power to pardon.”
As the Guardian points out, Arquilla coined the term “cyberwarfare,” and has advised the Obama administration on it. He told the Guardian last July that “the US should recruit rather than prosecute top hackers in the same way it enlisted German rocket scientists after the second world war.”