PM David Cameron raises the Gary McKinnon extradition case with President Barack Obama

The Guardian reports:

Gary McKinnon campaigners praise PM for raising hacker's case with Obama

Cameron says he hopes 'a way through' can be found over fate of McKinnon, who faces extradition to US

* Jo Adetunji
* The Guardian, Wednesday 21 July 2010

Prime minister David Cameron said last night he hoped "a way through" could be found over the fate of computer hacker Gary McKinnon, but remained diplomatic as he spoke of his discussion of the case with the US president.

The prime minister said he had talked with Barack Obama about the case of McKinnon, 43, who is accused of hacking into US government computer systems for which he faces extradition and up to 60 years in jail. Cameron said McKinnon was accused of a "very important and significant crime" but hoped that "a way through" could be found.

Cameron and Nick Clegg, the deputy prime minister, have publicly criticised plans to extradite McKinnon. Last year Cameron said that there was "a clear argument to be made that he should answer [any questions] in a British court".

But Cameron took a more diplomatic tack last night. Speaking at a joint press conference with Obama, he said: "Clearly there is a discussion going on between the British and the Americans about this, but I don't want to prejudice those discussions. We completely understand that Gary McKinnon stands accused of a very important and significant crime in terms of hacking into vital databases, and nobody denies that is an important crime that has to be considered. I have had conversations with the US ambassador as well as raising it with the president, and I hope a way through can be found."


Last year Alan Johnson, the former home secretary and Theresa May's predecessor, ruled that McKinnon could face extradition and trial in the US but his lawyers were granted permission for a judicial review into whether the decision breached human rights.

The case took another turn when May stepped in to adjourn the review days before it was due to start to consider whether McKinnon is fit to stand trial in the US. The home secretary is still considering the issue.

The Telegraph reports:

David Cameron suggests compromise on Gary McKinnon to Barack Obama

David Cameron has suggested to President Barack Obama that Gary McKinnon, the Briton accused of hacking into Pentagon computers, could serve some of his sentence in Britain as part of a compromise deal.

By Robert Winnett and Alex Spillius in Washington
Published: 6:55AM BST 21 Jul 2010


Mr Obama had earlier said he hoped a deal could be reached in the long-running case of Mr McKinnon, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome.

"Work has been going on to try and see if there isn't some way of dealing with this case where perhaps the sentences given in America that some of the - if there is a prison sentence - is served in a British prison," Mr Cameron told the BBC's Radio 5Live.

However, Mr Obama said he could not interfere directly in the case and warned that the issue must be "resolved in a way that underscores the seriousness of the issue".

Mr Obama said: "One of the traditions we have is that the President doesn't get involved in decisions around prosecutions, extradition matters.

"So what I expect is my team will follow the law, but they will also co-ordinate closely with what we have just stated is an ally that is unparalleled in terms of our co-operative relationship.

"I trust that this will get resolved in a way that underscores the seriousness of the issue, but also underscores the fact that we work together, we can find an appropriate solution." Mr Cameron said he understood that Mr McKinnon was accused of a "very important and significant crime" but said he hoped "a way through" could be found.

Obviously neither the Prime Minister nor the President can be seen to directly intervene in judicial proceedings but this case is definitely a political one.

Here is a chance for the Obama administration to make amends for some of their recent anti-British political rhetoric following the BP oil pollution affair, by dropping the extradition demand they inherited from the Bush administration, in favour of an "appropriate solution" under the British system of justice.