Wednesday, July 13, 2005


The nerd who saw too much

`In 1983, when Gary McKinnon was 17, he went to see the movie WarGames. In the film, a geeky computer whiz-kid hacks into a secret Pentagon network and, inadvertently, almost instigates World War III. Sitting in the cinema, the teenage McKinnon wondered if he, too, could be a hacker. “Really,” I say to him now, ” WarGames should have put you off hacking for life.”

“Well,” he replies, “I didn’t mean it to actually come true.” [..]

He is good-looking, funny, slightly camp, nerdy, a chain-smoker – and terrified. “I’m walking down the road and I find I can’t control my own legs,” he says. “And I’m sitting up all night thinking about jail and about being arse-fucked. And, remember, according to them I was making Washington inoperable ‘immediately after September 11’. [..]

The sentence the US Justice Department is seeking – should McKinnon be extradited – is up to 70 years. What McKinnon was hunting for, as he snooped around NASA, and the Pentagon’s network, was evidence of a UFO cover-up. [..]

Given the Justice Department has announced the information McKinnon downloaded was not “classified”, and he was stoned much of the time, perhaps we can assume NASA is not too worried about his “discoveries”.’

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