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Hacker facing 60 years for US attack

Perpertrator of 'biggest military computer hack of all time' loses appeal against extradition to US

A British hacker is facing up to 60 years in jail in the US, after UK authorities turned down his appeal against extradition to the states.

Gary McKinnon of London is accused by US prosecutors of having hacked into 97 computers belonging to the US military and to Nasa, and causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

The attacks, which took place in 2001-2002, were described by US attorney Paul McNulty as "the biggest military computer hack of all time."

McKinnon was arrested by British police in 2002. Despite the fact that all of his hacking was carried out from London, no charges were filed against him in the UK.

US prosecutors allege that McKinnon altered or deleted files which led to the shut down of the US Military district of Washington for 24 hours, and also shut down the network at a naval munitions and supplies base in New Jersey for a week.

McKinnon admitted hacking, but denied that he carried out any intentional sabotage, or that he had any terrorist affiliations, claiming that he was looking for evidence of a UFO cover up.

In a statement released by McKinnon's lawyers said they would be appealing against the decision in the European Court of Human Rights.

The statement read: "Gary McKinnon is neither a terrorist nor a terrorist sympathiser. His case could have been properly dealt with by our own prosecuting authorities. Instead, we believe that the British government declined to prosecute him to enable the US government to make an example of him."