The US has no intention of giving up its campaign to extradite accused British hacker Gary McKinnon to face trial, US Attorney General, Eric Holder has said in a TV interview.
With President Obama due to visit the UK on 24 May, Holder’s comments to ITV’s London Tonight programme will dash the hopes of his legal team that the US might be softening its stance.
"McKinnon is a person who committed serious crimes resulting in about $1million worth of damages in the United States,” said Holder. “There has been a review by seven judges here in the UK who made the determination that his extradition was appropriate.”
Furthermore, "The previous Home Secretary [Alan Johnson] made the determination that his extradition was appropriate,’ he said.
What started as a relatively simple case of a misguided hacker poking around on US servers in the aftermath of the September 2001 attacks on New York has since morphed into a complex and politically-charged case that has passed to new administrations in both countries.
Nobody has come up with a way of sorting out the mess. The US has stuck to its guns that he must face the music for his crimes, while UK opinion has gradually shifted to the view that the US is guilty of legal overkill to suit its hardline domestic politics.
A similar case against the accused Swedish ‘Cisco hacker’ went nowhere because of the weaker extradition agreements between the two countries.
"The time has come for our Government to show their compassion and to assert their authority and to simply refuse to extradite,” McKinnon’s mother, Janis Sharp, told the Daily Mail newspaper after hearing Holder’s latest comments.
Sharp has campaigned for her son to be tried in the UK and even wrote to President Obama stating that belief in recent weeks.
“Pre-election, David Cameron and Nick Clegg had both said that Gary can and must be tried in the UK,” she added.