Obama leaves McKinnon's fate in UK hands

Visting US President Barack Obama told UK hacks he would "respect" the British legal process being played out to decide the fate of alien-hunting computer hacker Gary McKinnon.

McKinnon is wanted in the US for hacking into poorly-protected Pentagon and Nasa computers in what he said was a search for evidence of contact with aliens. Red-faced US security agencies want to drag him off to the US and face trial on charges that could see him banged up for 60 years.There are concerns the Asperger's sufferer would commit suicide at the prospect.

Obama told a press conference at Lancaster House that would respect the British legal process, which currently sees McKinnon's case with the Home Secretary. He stopped well short of demanding McKinnon be bundled on a plane forthwith.

He said: "We have proceeded through all the processes required under our extradition agreements. It's now in the hands of the British legal system.

"We have confidence in the British legal system coming to a just conclusion, and so we will await resolution and we will be respectful of that process."

Prime Minister David Cameron chipped in saying there was "widespread concern" for McKinnon's well being.

"The case is in front of the Home Secretary who has to consider reports about Gary's health and his well-being and it is right that she does that in a proper and effectively quasi-judicial way," he flannelled, while chummily using McKinnon's first name.

"I totally understand the anguish of his mother and family about this issue," he said. "We must follow the proper processes and make sure this case is dealt with in the proper way and I am sure that is the case."

McKinnon's case is sitting on Home Secretary Teresa May's desk and she hasn't decided yet when she'll make up her mind about it.

Obama's vaguely conciliatory tone may help his case, however.