British man charged with hacking US government computers arrested; feds seek extradition

Associated Press

A British man accused of hacking into U.S. government computer networks was arrested in England Wednesday, and U.S. prosecutors said they will attempt to have him brought to New Jersey.

Lauri Love, of Stradishall, England, has been charged with hacking into agencies, including the U.S. Army, NASA, the Federal Reserve and the Environmental Protection Agency, and stealing sensitive and confidential information.

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Matthew Reilly, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey, said Love was arrested Wednesday and that U.S. officials filed an extradition request. The 29-year-old also faces federal charges in New York and Virginia.

Love's British attorney, Karen Todner, said he appeared in court Wednesday and was released on bail. Todner said last year that any extradition request would be "vehemently opposed." She said his next hearing is scheduled for Sept. 1.

Love, whose Facebook profile includes a cat wearing sunglasses and the words "Deal With It," did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Past American attempts to extradite British hackers have become politicized.

Todner also represented Gary McKinnon, who was accused of breaking into military U.S. military computers in 2002. McKinnon fought a decade-long legal battle which drew in senior U.K. politicians and eventually resulted in him staying in Britain.

Love was charged in New Jersey in 2013 and then charged last year in both Virginia and New York.

He initially was arrested in Great Britain in October 2013 and released on bail after he was charged under a United Kingdom law that permits the arrest of anyone who starts attacks from the U.K. on computers anywhere in the world.

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Associated Press writer Raphael Satter in London contributed to this report.