🎀2017 MUFON Symposium

In 2017 Gary McKinnon spoke at the MUFON Symposium via Skype.

Since the book with these proceedings is no longer available via MUFON, I have made this transcript available online for posterity. The talk video itself is available on Gary's YouTube.

A Live Interview with Gary McKinnon

by Gary McKinnon

Abstract: In March of 2002 Gary was arrested for hacking into NASA, the US Army, the US Navy, the US Air Force and the Pentagon. In November of that year, the US Attorney General announced that they intended to extradite Gary to America to stand trial for his crimes there, and so began the 10 year legal battle to get Gary tried in his own country.

Hi my name's Gary McKinnon, in March of 2002 I was arrested for hacking into Army, Navy, and Air Force computers, as well as the Pentagon and NASA networks. The arresting officers from the National High Tech Crime Unit (which is now part of SOCA - the Serious Organised Crime Agency) told me that I'd probably do 6 months community service. This turned out to be a highly-inaccurate prediction.

My arresting officers went to Washington and met with some top brass to discuss my case. The Police officers were obviously very impressed by the military officers they had met with because, when they returned from Washington and interviewed me for the second time, they had a very serious tone about them.

This second interview was in the Summer of 2002, August I think. In November of the same year the US authorities announced that they intended to extradite me to stand trial in America, and that, on paper at least, I was facing 70 years in jail, a far cry from 6 months community service.

At the time they announced their intention to extradite, the extradition treaty between the UK and US required that evidence be produced that strongly supported the allegations before a UK citizen could be taken to the US. US citizens were protected by the constitution and strong evidence was also required to extradite them. Unfortunately for me, my case (amongst others) had catalysed both the US and UK into arranging a new extradition treaty, one where supporting evidence was no longer required to extradite a UK citizen to the US but US citizens were still protected by the constitution. This 'necessary imbalance' as one of the architects of the treaty once called it, still exists to this day.

Going from 6 months community service to the thought of the rest of my life in a foreign prison was obviously a major leap, and a terrifying one. The US authorities called my actions 'the biggest military computer hack ever', which is patently untrue since there have been a few viruses that got into many more computers than I did, I got into less than 100. But the real bottom line here was the damage accusations. I was accused of damaging every PC that I was on, and told that the amount of damage I'd done to each PC was exactly $5000 worth, which was the magic figure necessary to support an extradition request. I was being fitted up as far as the damage accusations went.

I knew I hadn't done any damage, but you can't prove a negative. Under the new treaty there was no burden of proof for the US, they just had to state your crime and your name, so it was looking very bad for me. Two years went by without me hearing much more, this was due to the treaty having to be ratified by the Senate, for some reason they were dragging their heels, which was odd since, when I'd read the draft of the treaty, it was written in US English.

I'd lost my career in IT due to this so I had got my forklift license and a job in a local luggage warehouse. I then lost this job due to all the publicity, I also lost the room I rented because the landlord didn't like all the press hanging around. I'd also lost my girlfriend of 14 years, so I was feeling pretty crappy, to understate it hugely, and spent two years unemployed and very down.

In 2005 I got another job, working for EDS (Electronic Data Systems), I finished my first day then made my way home. As I came to my front door three men in suits approached me, identified themselves as the New Scotland Yard Extradition Squad and escorted me up to my room that I was renting in a shared house. They insisted on taking my computer, even though they could see I had no Internet in the room. They informed me that I was a fugitive from US law! How can you be a fugitive when you're not trying to evade the law? Once again, the logic of international law enforcement had escaped me. But there was no escape for me, the officers drove me to the police station where I submitted a DNA sample (they told me if I refused they would apply for permission and I would be in a cell until permission was given).

I was to appear in court the next day for my bail conditions to be set, without being given the opportunity to wash or change my clothes so I walked into court looking like a complete scruff-bag (which is my default mode) and I could see the distaste on the face of the judge - or perhaps he always looked like that. The US asked for a $10,000 dollar bail and for me to have to sign on at my local police station every hour around the clock! My local police station was half an hour from where I lived so I would either have to get no sleep or sleep at the station. Luckily theΒ£ judge saw that this was a nonsensical request so I was required to sign on at the police station each evening. We also get the bail dropped by $5,000 since my parents fostered children for a living and didn't have any savings. My bail was paid by friends and family all contributing what they could.

I'll go over the rest of the events in less depth since it's just a chronology of court hearings and decisions.

In 2006, I had my first extradition hearing, and the judge ruled that my extradition could be allowed, but the final decision was to be made by the home secretary, who also decided it was fine to send me over there without any evidence of damage.

The US authorities started to play dirty, saying that if I didn't come over of my own free will than they would give me the maximum 70 year sentence once I was over there. My solicitor was also told by Ed Gibson, who was the attachΓ© at the US embassy at the time, that they wanted to "see me fry", which was of course a reference to the electric chair. They also threatened me with imprisonment in America under military order number 1, which means a secret trial with a jury of military personnel and no opportunity to speak to the press. They also informed me I would be allowed no visits from anyone and that, under military order number one, imprisonment in Guantanamo was a distinct possibility. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.

In 2007, we went to the high court to try and overturn the decision of the home secretary to allow the extradition but the high court refused to do so.

In 2008, we went to the House of Lords but they also refused to overturn the decision, so the next avenue was to go to the European Court of Human Rights, we also lost the appeal there.

Later that year, I was doing an interview on ITV and, after the interview, quite a few people contacted ITV to say that they thought I was on the Autistic spectrum and that I should get diagnosed by a professional to see if this was the case. I didn't like being told that I may be on the spectrum and I was far to depressed to welcome people analysing me but I went along with it since everyone was advising me to.

Ultimately I was diagnosed by 5 or 6 of the top people in the UK and they all agreed that I had Asperger's Syndrome, I didn't like being diagnosed as having a syndrome but it did explain a lot, people had always thought I was weird and robotic, ever since school, so now I at least had an explanation for that.

Having Asperger's helped with the case as well, since my actions were due to my hyper-inflated sense of truth and justice, which was a result of Asperger's Syndrome, a normal person wouldn't have broken the law in the way that I did to find information on UFOs.

IN late 2008, we appealed to the new home secretary, but she also had no sympathy for my situation and said she would allow the extradition.

In 2009, we launched a judicial review and found out from the Crown Prosecution Service that the US authorities had no evidence whatsoever that I'd done any damage, it was pure hearsay, yet the CPS still refused to prosecute me in my own country.

I then asked to appeal to the Supreme Court (something we didn't have when I was first arrested) but was refused leave to do so. In late 2009, the Home Office agreed to put the extradition on hold while they looked at our medical evidence, but they said they had received assurances from the US authorities that all of my medical needs would be met in a US prison. This statement is patently untrue since US jails have a very bad record when it comes to looking after mentally-ill inmates. In December of 2009, we submitted a new high court appeal to challenge the extradition, and in January we were allowed the new judicial review.

In the spring of 2010, the new home secretary Teresa May agreed to put the extradition on hold while the new medical evidence was looked at. In summer of the same year the prime minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama mentioned my case on television, hoping that they could work together to find a suitable solution.

In September of 2010, we finally managed to get a review of the extradition treaty itself. Baroness Patricia Scotland, one of the people that helped push the treaty through, said herself that the treaty was 'necessarily imbalanced' due to US citizens being protected by the constitution, and David Blunkett, who had signed the treaty, admitted that 'we might have given too much away'.

In the spring of 2011, on a visit to the UK, President Obama said he would respect any decision made by the UK judicial system. That year me had growing support from the Conservative Party, and apart from a few noble individuals the Labour party were absolutely useless and had no qualms sending me across the pond.

By this time I had been severely depressed for years and was on Prozac, rarely leaving the house. I'd also bought enough Potassium Chloride to kill myself with, rather than facing 70 years in a foreign jail. These were people that wanted to see me fry or see me rot and I wasn't going to let them control the terms or method of my demise.

In 2012, I refused to see the government-appointed doctors. I had already been assessed by the top, independent people in the land and saw no reason to submit to further tests, especially since the pair of doctors the government wanted to use had a track record of getting the results the government wanted.

Finally, on October 15th 2012, Teresa May announced her decision to block the extradition. My family and Lucy and I cried like babies, ten and a half years running down our faces.

There was still the possibility of a UK trial, which was what we'd been campaigning for all this time, but in December, on my Mum's birthday, the CPS announce that there would be no UK trial and our ordeal was over.

So that's the decade-long legal battle, the chronology of events, but I think it's also important to give you a potted history of me and why I decided to hack into these systems.

I was born in Glasgow in 1966, I had no siblings, my parents broke up when I was 6, I spent another year in Glasgow living with my dad before going down to London to live permanently with my mum and stepdad.

My parents always encouraged the use of imagination and creativity, so I was quite a self-sufficient child in terms of play and recreation. I'm told I was always asking questions about the stars, the moon and the other planets, and this fascination grew as I got older, maintaining a lay-person's interest in astronomy and physics.

I did have one sighting myself, the only time I've ever seen something with my own eyes that I can't explain. I was in my bedroom at about the age of 11 or 12, looking up at the sky at dusk, when I saw a glowing red light zooming from my very high extreme left, right across the sky to the horizon on my right. But this wasn't traveling in a straight line, it was moving in an almost Brownian motion, doing lots of seemingly-random wiggles as it followed it's rough arc across the sky.

When I was about 12 I joined BUFORA - the British UFO Research Association, which is still going strong today. The extension of an interest in the stars to an interest in the life that may live on the planets around those stars was a natural one, and the thought that some of them may be visiting us was extremely interesting.

Of course, as a boy turns into a young man he develops other interests, and my passion for science and strange phenomenon was put on the back burner for some time as I started to explore the mystery that was the opposite sex, a mystery I still haven't solved to this day ;+}

I left school and spent years doing different jobs, from labouring to hair dressing to office jobs to factory and warehouse work, I spent about a year in each job, looking for something that could hold my interest. But as my dad always said 'most jobs aren't interesting son, that's why they pay you to do them'.

I didn't leave school with many qualifications but I did have a passion for computers and was a self-taught programmer in BASIC and assembly language by this time. If you're that sort of person then you'll know that you end up being the one that all your friends call for help with their computers, then one day someone suggested I should try and get a job in computing.

Not having any formal qualifications or experience the only jobs I could get initially were installation and upgrade contracts, where a business was moving from Windows 3.11 to Windows for Workgroups for instance. As time went on and my experience grew I eventually was contracting doing network installations, maintenance and troubleshooting.

Then one day at one of my jobs in the mid 90s I got my first look at the Internet using the Mosaic browser. I was amazed that we could view text and images on a computer that was on the other side of the world, I knew it would be a big thing in time to come and that I wanted it in my house! Even though Microsoft famously said it didn't think there was anything to it.

I got my first dialup connection in '95 I think, by then we had a variety of search engines (no Google yet), and millions of websites so it had already become a useful resource, and the number of UFO enthusiast sites was astounding. I could hardly believe it. I had a lot of catching up to do so whenever I could I would browse the net, reading up on UFO history and how the phenomenon had grown over the years.

At around this time fuel prices were getting very high and we had cases of elderly people in the UK having to choose between warmth and food, some of them died due to hypothermia because they couldn't afford to pay their fuel bills. This is a growing problem to this day, in 2015 15,000 people died due to so-called 'fuel poverty'.

One subject I'd read a lot about in connection with UFOs was free energy, a power source that was infinite and output more energy than was required to operate it, they called these over-unity devices. This is no mystery by the way, your average refrigerator is 3 times over unity, the heat it puts out is more than could be made by the electricity that goes into it. A well-made fridge can be 5 or 6 times over unity.

In my mind these lines of thought converged, so many of today's problems could be solved if we had free energy, and the UFOs that I'd read so much about and watched so many videos of seemed to operate on a propulsive principle that was extremely advanced and was probably tapping the 'zero point energy' that I'd read about, literally pumping electrons from the nano-fluctuations of the fabric of the universe.

So why didn't we have this technology? Many countries around the world had a serious interest in UFOs, even detailing in their air forces' instruction manuals how to engage one and how to report it. We had the famous Roswell case where bodies and a craft were supposedly recovered, so why didn't we have amazing flying vehicles and free energy for everyone? Elitism, that's why. It's not your standard radar installation that monitors the skies for UFOs, and it's not your regular army that goes out and recovers crashed UFOs. As everyone here knows these projects are special access and secret-compartmented, so very few people see the big picture and if there are any so-called 'disruptive technologies' they end up in the hands of a relatively small group of people rather than the public at large. Secrets are never good in any relationship, but secrets kept from the people AND the state by forces unknown are the worst kind of secrets.

So I started to wonder if it would be possible to seek out the truth of the matter via the Internet and by using my networking knowledge to track down the unknown forces and get a look at their data. To many people this just seems like a mad idea, but to me it was a noble cause and worth looking into.

But how do you track down a secret group of elitists, coveting recovered alien technology, that probably have their own quantum-computing network and time travel machines by now!? Would they even have data on the Internet? Well you don't know until you try, but where do you start? Then, sometime in the spring of 2001, I was told about Dr. Steven Greer's upcoming Disclosure Project conference at the National Press Club in DC. Here was a man who had spent years gathering together the most incredible UFO witness list, interviewing them, bonding with them, respecting their anonymity when required. As I listened to him speak with true passion and eloquence about the subject he became an instant hero to me, right up there with the likes of Linda Moulton Howe, Budd Hopkins, Stanton Friedman and many, many others in the UFO field. This was an amazing body of evidence and all from the mouths of mature retirees, in the main, who held positions ranging from radar hardware engineers to USAF lieutenant colonels and above. And these people were from all of the armed forces, right across the board, as well as witnesses from the intelligence community, it really was a fantastic collection of people telling their stories.

I bought the Disclosure Project book, wanting to know more of these people's stories and, more importantly, to use the book for intelligence-gathering on possible locations that were Internet-connected and also had something to do with the UFO cover-up.

As far as I was concerned, Dr. Greer's star witness was Donna Hare. Here was a person who had been inside one of NASA's sanitising labs, where they regularly remove UFOs from satellite and spacecraft imagery! Donna said that the lab she saw was in building 8 of Johnson Space Centre, I was gobsmacked, I had a physical location that was fairly specific, down to the building that the lab was in.

So, how do you get into a network like that? It turned out to be all too easy. Computer communication languages are called network protocols. The HTTP you use in your web browser is a protocol, standing for Hyper Text Transfer Protocol, your email service runs on IMAP, which is Internet Message Access Protocol. So there're protocols for specific jobs, as well as general protocols that provide for computer-to-computer communication.

One of these general protocols is called NetBIOS, which stands for Network Basic Input/Output System. As it's name suggests, it's a system that provides basic input/output across the network, for instance, if your office is on a Windows network, when you copy and paste a file from your machine to a colleagues shared drive, it's NetBIOS doing all the legwork and allowing both computers to talk to each other. So this is what NetBIOS is for, Local Area Networks like offices or homes, it's not very secure.

Unfortunately, at that time, an out of the box Windows installation defaulted to using NetBIOS not just across your internal office or home network, it allowed NetBIOS communications with other computers on the Internet, basically exposing your network to the world!

One method NetBIOS uses for access to any network resource is the standard user name and password combination, with the administrator being the most powerful account on the PC, having access to almost anything, so it was obvious that I had to scan the JSC network, looking for PCs that accepted NetBIOS connections and then seeing if they had weak passwords set on the administrator accounts.

A surprising number of PCs responded to NetBIOS probes and also returned administrator accounts that had no password set! Not just a weak password like 'password' but literally no password. So it was easy to set up a tunnel between me and the remote PC that I could use to install remote control software, kind of like PC Anywhere where you see the remote screen on your monitor and can use the mouse and interact with the remote desktop.

Before installing the remote control software I first had to find out which PCs were in building 8. This was accomplished by using NetBIOS commands to list the PCs on the remote network, luckily for me NASAs IT people were diligent in their hardware auditing, every PC had location information as well as serial numbers and the like for auditing purposes, so it didn't take long to compile a list of building 8 machines that had administrator accounts with no passwords set.

I installed the remote-control software on the first PC in the list, logged on and looked at the desktop, which was fairly minimal I think but had two interesting folders, one was called 'raw' and the other 'processed' (or words to that effect I can't remember exactly). I double-clicked on the raw folder and there was a huge list of files, with many of them being over 200MB in size, which was quite large back in dailup days. I considered transferring a few of the files in one go, but thought I'd best inspect one of them first. I can't remember the file extension but it was some proprietary NASA format, not one of the common image formats (of which I knew many from my programming days). So I just double-clicked one of the files and the associated imaging software launched, I waited, and waited, then line by line the image started appearing on the screen, but it was painfully slow, so I killed the process of the imaging software, turned down the colour to 4 bit and switched the resolution to 640x480 in order to get a look at this image as quickly as possible, in low colour and low resolution, download it then close the connection.

I launched the image again and it was still painfully slow, but still a few times faster than before. The top section of the image just seemed to be muddy black and gray but then the hemisphere of a planet started to appear and I began to see cloud formations. I don't remember seeing any recognisable terrain, or any terrain at all but I assumed it was Earth and the muddy darkness above it was space. And then the craft began to appear, a classic cylinder UFO but with those golf ball dome radar housings on it, or domes that looked like that, I couldn't quite tell if it had that geodesic golf ball pattern because the image was being displayed at such low resolution, but there were no other features on the craft at all, no insignia, no rivets, no seams, no windows that I could see.

Then I jumped in my seat as the mouse started to move 'on it's own'. It obviously wasn't moving on it's own, someone who was physically at the machine moved the mouse pointer over the network icon in the system tray, right-clicked it and chose 'disconnect' as I watched. I couldn't believe it, I hadn't even seen the whole craft yet and now I'd been disconnected.

So in my Eureka moment I lost the connection, but I'd seen it, I'd found exactly what Donna Hare had said would be there, a sanitising lab that processed imagery, and the first image I looked at featured an exotic craft of some sort, so this was confirmation in my eyes.

I also found another piece of evidence, one that supports the secret space fleet theory. I can't remember which network I was on, I think it may have been a Navy network, and I found a spreadsheet entitled non-terrestrial-officers.xls. This had names, ranks, and ship names, lists of materiel (spelled like that, meaning military materials) and chemicals that were under ship-to-ship or fleet-to-fleet transfer lists. It was like I'd found the admin office of the secret space force! I did copy that file (I think it was one file, it may have been multiple files or just multiple tabs in one spreadsheet) but I did copy it and the last I heard of my hard drive that contains the file it was in an office at ONI Washington (Office of Naval Intelligence).

These days I run my own small business doing search engine optimisation, or SEO - helping people get high in search results for their products or services. I'm still fascinated by the UFO phenomenon, over-unity devices and exotic propulsion, but these days my research is entirely legal.

The most important lesson I learned during all of this is that it's very hard to get by in life on your own, we all need each other, especially during hard times.

Thank you for listening.

Gary McKinnon

Gary McKinnon was born in Glasgow, Scotland on the 10th of February 1966. He lived there until he was 6, at which point he moved down to London, England, to live with his mother and stepfather.

After leaving school he had many jobs, from labouring to office work to hairdressing, you name it and he probably did it. In his early 20's a family friend suggested he should work in computers since he obviously had a natural aptitude, having been programming since the age of 11. This was the start of a good career in IT, and it was how he learned about computer networking.

He also had a long-term interest in UFOs since the age of 10. In time his knowledge of networking and thirst for UFO knowledge led him to break the law in order to find out the truth, and led him to be speaking here today.

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