Former hostage Terry Waite has called upon the US government to drop its plans to extradite Gary McKinnon (pictured) who is accused of hacking into defence computers in search of evidence for UFOs.
Waite is the latest big name to intervene on behalf of McKinnon, 43, from London.
In January London Mayor Boris Johnson called on President Obama to drop extradition proceedings. In his Daily Telegraph blog, Johnson demanded to know why "a harmless UFO believer" was being treated as an international terrorist and why the British Government had failed to stand up to the US Justice Department's "demented quest" to extradite him.
Johnson, like Waite, claimed that McKinnon's hacking was so un-furtive that he left his own email address and messages such as "your security is crap" on military computers.
But the Mayor's intervention brought a swift rebuke from US Attorney, Scott Christie, who was involved in the original indictment. Writing in Computer World, Christie claimed that, far from being innocent, McKinnon had taken "great pains to obscure where he was coming from and who he actually was". He added the hacking caused the shutdown of critical military networks shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
Christie said Johnson did not understand the facts of the case and was being manipulated by McKinnon's bandwagon which had created what he called "a cause celebre status in order to appeal to folks who will beat the drum on his behalf."
This attitude unfairly sidesteps the fact that McKinnon has been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome and there can be no real advantage to be gained by his extradition and prosecution outside of the UK.
As Terry Waite succinctly puts it:
"Was Gary a spy? Was he attempting to bring down the mighty military force of the USA? As far as I know he was not. He was simply looking for little green men. Anyone who has the slightest acquaintence with [Aspergers Syndrom] will know that while the sufferer can be, and often is, brilliant in certain logical processes they can become irrationally obsessive in other directions."
All we can do now is sit back and wait to see what happens next.