Scottish computer hacker Gary McKinnon is accused of gaining access to nearly a hundred US military and NASA computers and computer systems between 2001 and 2002. With a ten-year legal fight against extradition, protest songs and numerous think pieces published on the subject, it’s easy to forget perhaps the most important part of his story: what he was trying to find.
McKinnon has repeatedly claimed to have been looking for evidence of UFOs and “free energy”, a mythical, inexhaustible source of power, on the military computers. According to McKinnon, he did in fact locate that evidence.
Here’s what McKinnon claims he stole from the machines he hacked in to.
A photograph of a ‘UFO’
The most explosive claim McKinnon made was that he remotely accessed a terminal in Johnson Space Center’s Building 8. Stored inside one folder were several giant photographs taken by satellites of “cigar-shaped” crafts. Inside another folder was a collection of the same photographs, but processed and modified to remove the strange objects. McKinnon claims that his slow dial-up connection was unable to download any of the 200-300 MB images. However, he claims that he was able to view one of the unaltered photographs on his computer screen.
“I turned the colour down to 4bit colour and the screen resolution really, really low, and even then the picture was still juddering as it came onto the screen. But what came on to the screen was amazing. It was a culmination of all my efforts. It was a picture of something that definitely wasn’t man-made.
“It was above the Earth’s hemisphere. It kind of looked like a satellite. It was cigar-shaped and had geodesic domes above, below, to the left, the right and both ends of it, and although it was a low-resolution picture it was very close up. This thing was hanging in space, the earth’s hemisphere visible below it, and no rivets, no seams, none of the stuff associated with normal man-made manufacturing.”
In interviews published in recent years, McKinnon claims that he was able to take a screenshot of what he saw on his screen before whoever was at the computer at the Johnson Space Center physically moved the mouse and closed the image. Presumably that screenshot was lost when his computer was seized by the police during his first arrest in March 2002.
Is McKinnon’s claim to have seen evidence of a UFO cover-up in a NASA building credible? In short, no. Viewing an image over a remote connection in 4bit colour will certainly make it impossible to see any rivets, and will make it difficult to tell an artist’s impression of a satellite from a UFO. Perhaps McKinnon’s notoriously excessive marijuana use at the time had something to do with his over-excitement at the “flickering” image on the screen?
A list of ‘non-terrestrial officers’
According to McKinnon, he was able to remotely view a spreadsheet that listed 20-30 names of “non-terrestrial officers”. He doesn’t believe that they were aliens, but he does claim that his findings demonstrate proof of a secret US military space battalion. The spreadsheet viewed by McKinnon apparently listed ship-to-ship personnel transfers.
Rumours abound that McKinnon let slip the names of two US military spaceships: the USSS LeMay and the USSS Hillenkoetter. Apparently, USSS stands for “United States Space Ship”. Both General Curtis LeMay and Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter are American military figures connected to UFO research.
Evidence of a ‘free energy’ cover-up
For Gary McKinnon, “free energy” was the grand prize. While he was fascinated by UFOs, the promise of a limitless and infinite energy source, which is often claimed to exist by conspiracy nuts, kept him hacking into computers under the code-name “Solo”.
“I knew that governments suppressed antigravity, UFO-related technologies, free energy or what they call zero-point energy. This should not be kept hidden from the public when pensioners can’t pay their fuel bills.”
“Secretive parts of the secret government are sitting on suppressed technology for free energy.”
While McKinnon has repeatedly stated that he knows the US military is hiding free energy away, it’s unclear exactly how he knows. It is most likely that his hacking exploits found no evidence of free energy, and that he was spurred on by conspiracy theories to try and uncover more information.
When McKinnon discusses viewing giant-size photographs of UFOs via a remote desktop viewer, his technical language makes his claim somewhat believable. However, to this day he continues to insist that a giant cover-up has taken place to hide a mythical free energy source from the world.