The United States government did a complete about face today announcing that computer hacker Gary McKinnon performed a great service for the country and will be honored with the U.S. highest honor, the Medal of Freedom, rather than imprisoned.
Sources say McKinnon exposed vulnerabilities in the government's computer system, prevented the system from being attacked by terrorists, saved the country untold billions of dollars and saved the government from embarrassment in the eyes of the world.
"If it were not for Gary McKinnon the entire US government computer system could now be in the hands of terrorists!" said President Barack Obama. "He pointed out how vulnerable our system was to attack from foreign countries. Thanks to Gary we have instituted safety protocols that will prevent terrorists from virtually attacking us!"
"I didn't mean to be a hero", McKinnon modestly stated. "I was simply looking for evidence of UFOs that the US government has been concealing. Who knew that I would save the world at the same time?"
Obama has invited McKinnon to dinner at the White House and will be asked to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom.
McKinnon has begun work on his book "How I Accidentally Saved the World" which is expected to be an international best seller.