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I met Gary McKinnon a few years ago and interviewed him over a beer. Over time I have come to the conclusion that despite the serious hacking crimes he committed, he needs help and a period of coummunity service, rather than a 60 year prison sentence. 

McKinnon certainly broke the law and caused damage when he hacked into US military systems. He may not have deleted files, or damaged software, but security specialists had no choice but to rebuild each machine he compromised. That is expensive, time consuming, and disruptive.

But I believe that McKinnon is telling the truth when he says that he was motivated to hack into US military computers by a desire to prove that the US government is covering-up evidence of UFOs.

He talked passionately about his late night hacking episodes, discovering pictures of UFO's on military servers and evidence of a US space-corps. Sadly, for UFO conspiracy theorists, no evidence of his discoveries survives. 

Why are the US authorities so keen to extradite such a misguided soul ? One rumour going around security and law enforcement agencies might offer an explanation.

According to this latest theory, Russian intelligence had been running a covert programme to lure young people with Aspergers syndrome into hacking US government systems. 

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"That includes many theoretical physicists I know! ;-)" - Jack Sarfatti