Feeds

Former FBI agent slams defence tactics in McKinnon case

Suggests hacker should have taken his medicine

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Updated A former FBI legal officer who handled controversial plea bargaining negotiations with Gary McKinnon has attacked the tactics adopted by the hacker’s defence team.

Ed Gibson, who moved from his role as the FBI’s assistant legal to work as Microsoft’s chief security advisor in the UK back in 2005, said that if the self-confessed hacker had accepted voluntary extradition when he offered it back in 2003 then he would have “been out of jail four years ago” instead of facing extradition now.

Gibson described frequently-quoted defence fears that McKinnon might face up to 60 years in jail if extradited to the US for breaking into military systems as “nonsense”. In off-the-cuff remarks to an audience during a conference session at RSA Europe in London on Tuesday, Gibson half-jokingly suggested that might sue McKinnon’s lawyer Karen Todner for human rights breaches, presumably because he feels that her defence tactics had unnecessarily prolonged McKinnon’s suffering.

Around 30 people were in the audience for a presentation on The Balance of Browser Security and Settings during which Gibson made his remarks, which came as a surprise from a normally scrupulously diplomatic senior executive who has declined to speak about his role in the case in the past.

Gibson asked for a show of hands on those who thought McKinnon ought to be spared extradition. An audience member who raised his hand responded to Gibson’s invitation to explain himself by saying that McKinnon ought to be tried in the UK because he suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome.

Gibson engaged the fellow in debate, pointing out that UK authorities had declined to try McKinnon in the UK. He controversially reckons that long-running defence team efforts to avoid a US extradition are little better than an attempt to “escape justice”.

Janis Sharp, McKinnon's mum, gave us a robust reaction to Gibson's comments. "Ed Gibson is the same man that said to Gary's legal team that they'd prosecute Gary to max and state wanted to see him fry."

She explained the possible 60 years sentence claim. "Plea bargain cld not be guaranteed. Max sentence is 10 yrs per count times seven, but 60 years is max. Can Ed Gibson instruct Judges in sentencing? No!"

"Gary was vulnerable & admitted computer misuse without having a lawyer, big mistake," she added.

The Home Office last week agreed to place a hold on extradition proceedings against McKinnon in order to review new medical data. Having exhausted legal appeals that went all the way up to the House of Lords last year and featured judicial reviews of the handling of the case by the Home Office and UK prosecutors this year, McKinnon's best hope of avoiding extradition currently rests on this review. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
Webcam hacker pervs in MASS HOME INVASION
You thought you were all alone? Nope – change your password, says ICO
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
Meet OneRNG: a fully-open entropy generator for a paranoid age
Kiwis to seek random investors for crowd-funded randomiser
USB coding anarchy: Consider all sticks licked
Thumb drive design ruled by almighty buck
Attack reveals 81 percent of Tor users but admins call for calm
Cisco Netflow a handy tool for cheapskate attackers
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.