Jacqui Smith should be ashamed of handling of hacker case

WHEN Jacqui Smith was appointed as Home Secretary, she appeared, in my opinion, to be one of the least repellent of the New Labour elite. She was quite composed, non-strident, reassuring, and even seemed to have a sense of humour. But what a difference a

WHEN Jacqui Smith was appointed as Home Secretary, she appeared, in my opinion, to be one of the least repellent of the New Labour elite.

She was quite composed, non-strident, reassuring, and even seemed to have a sense of humour. But what a difference a year makes.

Ms Smith has tried to push through some of the most appalling anti-libertarian laws in our history. She has conceded defeat, with bad grace, on the proposal of detention for 42 days without trial. Without doubt this legislation will one day be resurrected.

This week she announced a massive extension of state surveillance which will give not only the government but many unelected bodies the power to snoop on everyone's phone calls, emails and text messages.


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Considering this government's protection of data, or lack thereof, this is a truly terrifying prospect.

However, Ms Smith's true character is revealed by her treatment of computer hacker Gary McKinnon (Home Secretary turns her back on hacker, H&H October 16). He was undoubtedly foolish to hack into US systems and he did, allegedly, cause $700,000 of damage - but he is to be extradited to the US, without trial in this country. Ms Smith has refused to lift one finger to help him.

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Mr McKinnon has been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome - and without doubt he is being tortured just by the thought of a lifetime in a top security American jail.

Compare Ms Smith's refusal to extradite many people who pose a threat to the UK - on the grounds they "might" be tortured. Many suspected terrorists are allowed to live here and receive hundreds of thousands of pounds in benefits for themselves and their families.

No expensive, legally aided, famous "human rights" lawyers for Mr McKinnon. Jacqui Smith should hang her head in shame.

CAROLE TUCKER

Hillside Gardens, N6

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