Lesson number one from the Gary McKinnon case: if you want to hack computers run by the US military, do it from an unfriendly country and not one of its closest allies.
Banal, but therein lies a route to the daftness of the whole affair, which rumbles on still with the news that the UK CPS will not bring charges against McKinnon in his home country, leaving the way open for his extradition to the US for trial.
As has been obvious for some time, the US authorities want to make an example of McKinnon, the better to make flesh the warnings they have been issuing without much incident for decades - mess with our (poorly secured) computers and we'll mess with you.
But back to the daftness because that's what the case has had at its core. What McKinnon did, or is alleged to have done, is attempted every hour of the day by professional hackers in the employ of foreign agencies, and nobody in the US bats an eyelid. Why? Because they can do diddely squat about it, and it's seen as part of a high-stakes game that keeps the government security guys on their toes. And if they were honest, the US probaby does the same back.
So the example they want to make is really not merely about illegal hacking, but the idea of doing it with impunity. Sitting in a bedsit with a 1990's issue PC and making it through into the systems of the most resourced military in history, counts as thumbing your nose however you look at it.
McKinnon has been the wrong hacker in the wrong place at the wrong time. The US has yet to make it point and the case will continue until it does.