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The Mayor of London, the totally eccentric Boris Johnson, has written a column in a national newspaper in which he champions fellow loon Gary McKinnon, the NASA UFO hacker.

Currently busy fighting extradition to the USA on the grounds that, essentially, to do so would not be fair to someone with his mental health problems. These seem to revolve around two things. Firstly his obsession with proving that aliens exist, and secondly his suffering from Asperger's Syndrome. It is the former, by the way, that qualifies McKinnon as a raving nutjob in my book, not the latter.

McKinnon has expressed an interest in pleading guilty to offences under the British Computer Misuse Act if this means he will be tried in the UK and not sent to the US where potentially much harsher justice could await him. Like a prison term in excess of 60 years, compared to a couple of years in the UK.

Boris Johnson is either the Saviour of the city in his role as Mayor of London or a bumbling oaf who presents TV quiz shows depending upon your own personal opinion. He is also a well respected and highly experienced journalist, and so it was I found myself reading his latest thoughts straight off the page of The Telegraph newspaper here in the UK.

Under the heading of "Gary McKinnon believes in little green men – but it doesn't make him a terrorist" Johnson claims that those Americans who want a "harmless hacker" extradited must be "from a different planet."

Never one to shy away from controversy by thinking twice about what he says, Johnson has jumped straight into the McKinnon extradition debate with both feet.

A little background: McKinnon hacked into US military computers right after 9/11 and is accused of deleting files (and bringing the station to a standstill) at the New Jersey Naval Base that has responsibility for supplying munitions to the Atlantic Fleet. Given the timing, let alone the nature of the computers he hacked, it is hardly surprising that the US wants to get hold of the NASA hacker. Ah yes, the NASA bit comes in as McKinnon is said to have also had a look around these, all in his search for evidence of the existence of little green men.

In his open letter to Barack Obama, Boris Johnson says that the US is comparing McKinnon to Osama Bin-Laden and refers to him as a "mild-mannered computer programmer." Hew accuses the US of "bullying" and insists that McKinnon "is not and never has been any kind of threat to American security."

He makes some interesting and valid points, it has to be said, and the entire letter is worth a read. Boris concludes that it is time "for Barack Obama to show the new leadership the world has been crying out for. It is time for the Commander-in-Chief to tell the US military to stop being so utterly wet, dry their eyes, and invest in some passwords that are slightly more difficult to crack."

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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Last Post by happygeek
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I wrote on this a while back and did my research. I read an interview with mckinnon and he said that there was no password. I am a bit surprised that the military wouldn't add a password but then again Mckinnon most likely is telling the truth. Obama is right we need to restructure our military; I think we need one who knows what a password is!!

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Why would McKinnon be telling the truth? Seriously, he says he saw proof (including the names and ranks) of aliens in the US military - trouble is he didn't think to save those files so that 'proof' is handily just in his somewhat troubled head it seems.

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