World Bulletin / News Desk
An autistic British man suspected of hacking computers belonging to NASA and the FBI will be extradited to face trial after the U.K. government approved a U.S. request.
British Home Secretary Amber Rudd signed an order on Monday evening approving Lauri Love’s extradition to the United States.
The 31-year-old, who has Asperger syndrome, had been fighting to block his extradition and face trial in the U.K. instead because he could face a sentence of up to 99 years if found guilty in the United States.
He also argued he would suffer a mental breakdown if he was sent away from his home country.
But a British judge ruled in September that he could be extradited because the charges against him were extremely serious and the U.S. mental health facilities could comprehensively meet the needs of someone facing the physical and mental health issues suffered by Love.
A U.K. Home Office spokesman told the Daily Mail: “On Monday 14 November, the Secretary of State, having carefully considered all relevant matters, signed an order for Lauri Love's extradition to the United States.
“Mr. Love has been charged with various computer hacking offences which included targeting U.S. military and federal government agencies.”
Love is wanted in three U.S. jurisdictions – New Jersey, New York and Virginia – on multiple charges of hacking government servers in 2012 and 2013.
An indictment filed in a U.S. court in 2013 describes him as “a sophisticated and prolific computer hacker who specialized in gaining access to the computer networks of large organizations, including government agencies, collecting personally identifiable information”.
In addition to NASA and the FBI, servers belonging to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Federal Reserve and Environmental Protection Agency were also hacked, prosecutors allege.
Love’s case has drawn comparisons to Gary McKinnon, another British hacker wanted in the United States. Following a legal battle lasting 10 years, then-U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May blocked a U.S. request to extradite him in 2012.