Britain OKs hacker's extradition to US

Britain's top law enforcement official approved the extradition to the US of an alleged computer hacker accused of damaging US military systems, an Associated Press report said.

The report said Secretary John Reid from the Home Office approved the extradition of Gary McKinnon, 40, who had two weeks to appeal the order.

A judge ruled in May that McKinnon, who had been indicted in New Jersey and northern Virginia, should be sent to the US to face trial.

The report said the decision required Reid's approval. His office said he was not convinced by the arguments McKinnon raised in his defense.

McKinnon said he planned to appeal.

He was accused of illegally accessing 97 computers, causing at least $700,000 in damage in the largest attack on the US government's computer networks, US government attorneys told a British court, according to the report.

Court records in Virginia alleged McKinnon caused up to $900,000 in damage to computers, including those of private companies, in 14 states, the report said.

McKinnon, an unemployed computer system administrator who lived in London, had said he did not intend to cause damage, but was seeking evidence that America was concealing the existence of UFOs, the report further said.