U.S. officials say they have no immediate plans to extradite British citizen Ryan Cleary to face federal charges that he hacked into the Web sites of a several major U.S. companies.
Accused LulzSec hacker Ryan Cleary may not face extradition in connection with his recent indictment in the United States.
Cleary, who is a British citizen, is facing charges in the U.K. related to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against the country’s Serious Organized Crime Agency Web sites as well as other sites.
On June 12, a grand jury in California returned an indictment against Cleary alleging he ran a botnet used to launch DDoS attacks on behalf of Lulz Security, also known as LulzSec. LulzSec registered on law enforcement’s radar in 2011 after a number of high-profile DDoS attacks targeting companies such as SONY Entertainment and the CIA. The group publicized its exploits on Twitter.
According to U.K.-based newspaper The Daily Telegraph, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy said the U.S. “is not making any request of the UK regarding Ryan Cleary’s extradition at this time.”
Cleary’s attorney, Karen Todner, was quoted as saying that any attempt to extradite Cleary would be “fiercely contested.” ”Mr. Cleary suffers from Asperger’s syndrome and is on the autistic spectrum and extradition to the United States is totally undesirable,” she said.
The indictment in the U.S. alleges Cleary hacked into Fox’s website and stole confidential information belonging to people auditioning for a television show called “The X-Factor.” Clearly is also accused of attacking SONY Entertainment to steal information and hacking PBS’s website after PBS aired a documentary he believed to be critical of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The indictment against Cleary in the U.S. follows charges being brought earlier this year against six people involved in a series of attacks. Among those charged was Xavier Monsegur of New York City, also known as Sabu, who was also revealed to have been a government informant after secretly pleading guilty to last August to his involvement in attacks on HBGary and HBGary Federal as well as Sony, Fox, PBS and Infragard Members Alliance.
Cleary faces a maximum of 25 years in prison if he is eventually tried and convicted of the charges in the United States.