A leading military thinker has urged President Barack Obama to pardon the British computer hacker Gary McKinnon as part of a wider bid to recruit "master hackers" to US Cyber Command.
By Rory Carroll
By Rory Carroll
John Arquilla, a professor of defence analysis at the US Naval Postgraduate School, said forgiving McKinnon – who faced extradition for hacking into Pentagon and Nasa systems – could encourage other hackers to become government cyber warriors.
"If the notion of trying to attract master hackers to our cause is ever to take hold, this might be just the right case in which President Obama should consider using his power to pardon," Arquilla wrote in the journal Foreign Policy.
"One presidential act of mercy, such as in the case of McKinnon, won't entirely repair relations or build trust between hackers and the government, but it would be a strong signal of officialdom's growing awareness of the wisdom of embracing and employing the skills of these masters of their virtual domain."
The US Justice Department tried for a decade to extradite McKinnon after accusing him of carrying out the "biggest military computer hack of all time" from the bedroom of his north London home. McKinnon, who has Asperger's syndrome, was seeking information about UFOs. . . .
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