[ISN] 'UFO Hacker' Tells What He Found

InfoSec News isn at c4i.org
Thu Jun 22 03:31:15 EDT 2006


By Nigel Watson
June 21, 2006

The search for proof of the existence of UFOs landed Gary McKinnon in
a world of trouble.

After allegedly hacking into NASA websites -- where he says he found
images of what looked like extraterrestrial spaceships -- the
40-year-old Briton faces extradition to the United States from his
North London home. If convicted, McKinnon could receive a 70-year
prison term and up to $2 million in fines.

Final paperwork in the case is due this week, after which the British
home secretary will rule on the extradition request.

McKinnon, whose extensive search through U.S. computer networks was
allegedly conducted between February 2001 and March 2002, picked a
particularly poor time to expose U.S. national security failings in
light of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

McKinnon tells what he found and discusses the motivation behind his
online adventures in this exclusive phone interview with Wired News.

Wired News: What was your motive or inspiration for carrying out your
computer hacking? Was it the War Games movie?

Gary McKinnon: This is a bit of a red herring. I have seen it but I
wasn't inspired by it. My main inspiration was The Hacker's Handbook
by Hugo Cornwall. The first edition that I read was too full of
information.... It had to be banned, and it was reissued without the
sensitive stuff in it.

WN: Without this book would you have been able to do it?

McKinnon: I would have done it anyway because I used the internet to
get useful information. The book just kick-started me. Hacking for me
was just a means to an end.

WN: In what way?

McKinnon: I knew that governments suppressed antigravity, UFO-related
technologies, free energy or what they call zero-point energy. This
should not be kept hidden from the public when pensioners can't pay
their fuel bills.

WN: Did you find anything in your search for evidence of UFOs?

McKinnon: Certainly did. There is The Disclosure Project. This is a
book with 400 testimonials from everyone from air traffic controllers
to those responsible for launching nuclear missiles. Very credible
witnesses. They talk about reverse-(engineered) technology taken from
captured or destroyed alien craft.

WN: Like the Roswell incident of 1947?

McKinnon: I assume that was the first and assume there have been
others. These relied-upon people have given solid evidence.

WN: What sort of evidence?

McKinnon: A NASA photographic expert said that there was a Building 8
at Johnson Space Center where they regularly airbrushed out images of
UFOs from the high-resolution satellite imaging. I logged on to NASA
and was able to access this department. They had huge, high-resolution
images stored in their picture files. They had filtered and
unfiltered, or processed and unprocessed, files.

My dialup 56K connection was very slow trying to download one of these
picture files. As this was happening, I had remote control of their
desktop, and by adjusting it to 4-bit color and low screen resolution,
I was able to briefly see one of these pictures. It was a silvery,
cigar-shaped object with geodesic spheres on either side. There were
no visible seams or riveting. There was no reference to the size of
the object and the picture was taken presumably by a satellite looking
down on it. The object didn't look manmade or anything like what we
have created. Because I was using a Java application, I could only get
a screenshot of the picture -- it did not go into my temporary
internet files. At my crowning moment, someone at NASA discovered what
I was doing and I was disconnected.

I also got access to Excel spreadsheets. One was titled
"Non-Terrestrial Officers." It contained names and ranks of U.S. Air
Force personnel who are not registered anywhere else. It also
contained information about ship-to-ship transfers, but I've never
seen the names of these ships noted anywhere else.

WN: Could this have been some sort of military strategy game or
outline of hypothetical situations?

McKinnon: The military want to have military dominance of space. What
I found could be a game -- it's hard to know for certain.

WN: Some say that you have given the UFO motivation for your hacking
as a distraction from more nefarious activities.

McKinnon: I was looking before and after 9/11. If I had wanted to
distract anyone, I would not have chosen ufology, as this opens me up
to ridicule.

WN: Tell me about your experiences with law enforcement and the
procedures you have gone through.

McKinnon: I was arrested by the British National Hi Tech Crime Unit in
March 2002. They held me in custody for about six or seven hours. My
own computer and ones I was fixing for other people were taken away.  
The other machines were eventually returned, but they kept my hard
drive that was sent to the U.S. It was November 2002 when the U.S.  
Department of Justice started their efforts to extradite me.

WN: The British Crown Prosecution Service dropped charges against you
because your activities did not involve British computers.

McKinnon: I was to be officially charged in 2003 but a warrant wasn't
given until 2004.... In June or July 2005, I was scooped from the
street by Scotland Yard. I was kept at Belgravia Police Station
overnight. I just wore what I had on when I was out; I didn't get a
chance to wear a suit in court. I was given police bail.

WN: When will they make a decision about extradition?

McKinnon: It's down to the Home Secretary, John Reid. The deadline for
representations is 21 June 2006. Even after that date, it could be as
much as 11 months for him to decide on my fate.

WN: How have you been coping?

McKinnon: God, it's very worrying and stressful. It's been worse
because I'm unemployed. I worked on and off in IT, contracting and
stuff, before this, but no one will touch me with a large barge pole

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