LulzSec hacking suspect has Asperger's syndrome

Ryan Cleary, the 19 year old man who was arrested earlier this week in an operation related to the LulzSec hacking group, was revealed to have Asperger's syndrome. The revelation came about in a court hearing on his case today in the UK, according to an article on the BBC web site. Cleary, who lives in Wickford, Essex was taken into custody earlier this week with prosecutors claiming that he set up a denial of service attack on the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) on June 20 along with a number of other cyber attacks. So far Cleary has not given a plea to the charges.

Cleary's lawyer stated that his client Cleary has Asperger's along with agoraphobia. While Cleary was given bail the case's prosecutors objected to him leaving custody. His lawyer, however, feels that while Cleary is smart his medical conditions make it hard for Cleary to interact with others. Despite this move prosecutors stood their ground and refused to change their stance. The bail appeal will be heard on August 30. Even if Cleary makes bail and is freed until his trial he will be forbidden to access the Internet and will have to stay at his home.

Cleary was arrested as part of a joint operation between the US's FBI and the UK's Scotland Yard law enforcement groups. The two organizations are conducting a probe into the LulzSec hacker group. LulzSec has officially denied that Cleary is part of their group although he has hosted one of LulzSec's chat rooms on his IRC server.

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asperges syndrom is social issues as well as many others.... understanding why things are the way they are and some times what is right and wrong is decided by them selves through logic not morals (depending on severity) ... I don't know the severity of his asperges whether he is milking it or not... but this could be something don't just assume what scale he is and yes before anyone asks I can say this I am autistic (which is higher up the scale then asperges) and take care of aspergic and autistic children and have many aspergic friends (we all seem to collect together)... and I base what i do on logic, and i don't feel most of the basic human emotions and if i do feel any then its to one end of the scale (e.g. rage will be greater end of scale while I cant feel empathy) .... so ye a lil run down for ya all but people with asperges and autism are normally more intelligent and see the world in a great way =D

I have Asperger's myself and I don't even really see it as a disability. The media commenting on it as if it's some sort of horrible disorder is pretty offensive to me. My condition means I'm worse at a few things and better than others. So what? It just seems to me a little like Asperger's is the new <insert mental illness here> for the media. When it's not even a mental illness.

Fidel Sarcastro said,
I have Asperger's myself and I don't even really see it as a disability. The media commenting on it as if it's some sort of horrible disorder is pretty offensive to me. My condition means I'm worse at a few things and better than others. So what? It just seems to me a little like Asperger's is the new <insert mental illness here> for the media. When it's not even a mental illness.

+1

Ludvig_Strigeus (Ludde) who developed uTorrent and is currently developing Spotify, has some soft of disease/disability (I'm ashamed not to remember what is is as I was quite involved when he was developing uTorrent back in the day). But I guess it just proves that people who are forced to spend the majority of their time at a computer end up becoming a level above anyone else.

I'm very bothered about the way that the discussion here, on both sides, is presuming his guilt - despite what information there is available already.

admf said,
I'm very bothered about the way that the discussion here, on both sides, is presuming his guilt - despite what information there is available already.

Exactly. It sounds like at most he is guilty of running an IRC server. If that proves to be true, the only reason to arrest him is so the FBI, et al, can get access to his server logs, etc. I'm sure that's what they are trying to do in order to snag any relevant IP addresses.

I currently believe this is nothing but a fishing expedition. If evidence comes to light that says otherwise, let the chips fall where they may.

Alright, really? I have asperger's, and that doesn't mean that I'm off the hook from going around and doing things like this.

And you know what? You can't really define if a person has asperger's by looking at them. I have it and I'm one of the most social guys in my school. Each case is unique. If he doesn't seem like he has it, doesn't mean he doesn't have it.

JaykeBird said,
Alright, really? I have asperger's, and that doesn't mean that I'm off the hook from going around and doing things like this.

And you know what? You can't really define if a person has asperger's by looking at them. I have it and I'm one of the most social guys in my school. Each case is unique. If he doesn't seem like he has it, doesn't mean he doesn't have it.


Certainly not off the hook but it changes the case in terms of motivation and how a prison sentence would effect him. People with asperger's are motivated to do things very irrationally compared to other people at times and can focus a lot on one subject more than anyone else can. Their mind can easily be manipulated as well so it needs to be taken into factor like finance and any social issues.

I have aspergers as well, socially I'm fine just like one of the sort of shy ones but I have friends who are more shy and don't have aspergers.

What I'm saying is that it need to be taken into account as a defence with is a human right and to many people here are trying to be court judges with no Knowledge, experience or qualifications of a court judge.

To many people talking about stuff they don't know.

Edited by Gaffney, Jun 25 2011, 9:53pm :

"Ben Cooper, defending Mr Cleary, said he was concerned the alleged hacker would have to remain in custody over the weekend."

I think this is possibly where the Asperger's syndrome (and the agoraphobia) came into it, more so than as a defence. Many people with autistic spectrum conditions struggle immensely to cope with changes in their environment/routine and can find it extremely distressing (and by that I mean orders of magnitude more distressing than most people would find being in custody) - this would be even worse if he was also agoraphobic. Therefore I suspect he was using these issues to press for his client's bail into the familiar environment of his home. Considering that there are no accusations of violent crime, and that if the diagnoses are accurate he is not exactly likely to be a flight risk this seems like a reasonable case to make.

I would argue that if he goes on to be convicted and serves a custodial sentence, this consideration continues to apply. Punishing him in a way that is seen as appropriate for most people might well be extremely inhumane. That's not to say that if he is eventually convicted of these crimes then he shouldn't face the consequences.

thejohnnyq said,
I guess he will find a new syndrome in an US JAIL.

Now this bit I disagree with, like I did with the Gary McKinnon case.

Personally, I think Asperger's syndrome is no real excuse for doing stuff like this, but both Ryan Cleary and Gary McKinnon commited their crimes in the UK, so if they're sent to prison, they should serve their time in a UK prison.

MightyJordan said,

Now this bit I disagree with, like I did with the Gary McKinnon case.

Personally, I think Asperger's syndrome is no real excuse for doing stuff like this, but both Ryan Cleary and Gary McKinnon commited their crimes in the UK, so if they're sent to prison, they should serve their time in a UK prison.


"Commited their crimes in the UK," is not 100% true. Gary might have had his sorry ass planted in the UK, but the US was a destination of one of the attacks. Most laws don't seem to have caught up with the internet age over an issue like this: who gets jurisdiction, the source location or the destination location? Can be easily argued either way.

ir0nw0lf said,

"Commited their crimes in the UK," is not 100% true. Gary might have had his sorry ass planted in the UK, but the US was a destination of one of the attacks. Most laws don't seem to have caught up with the internet age over an issue like this: who gets jurisdiction, the source location or the destination location? Can be easily argued either way.

If MacKinnon was placed in the US and hacked a UK server, would the US allow for his extradition to the UK? This is the issue that a lot of people are talking about (obviously not in here, but generally). I certainly know my government (UK) wasn't amazingly pleased with the ruling.

Probably the least surprising medical condition of any suspect in any crime to be honest! Supposed "geek" and alleged hacker has a condition that is somewhere on the autistic spectrum. Not exactly breaking a stereotype is it?!

There is also a danger when Asperger syndrome/autism comes up in these cases that it leads people to associate the condition with criminality. In general people with either condition are LESS likely to be criminals than the population as a whole.

Alastair Cooper said,
There is also a danger when Asperger syndrome/autism comes up in these cases that it leads people to associate the condition with criminality. In general people with either condition are LESS likely to be criminals than the population as a whole.
absolutely!!! and then stigmas arise. sad really.

rpsgc said,
Is that supposed to make me feel sorry for him? I have no sympathy for these losers.

**** you. Really it's up to the government and the parent to make sure that people with Asperger's syndrome have their condition adapted to or treated. I have Asperger's and yes I do have some social problems but I got a lot of therapy as a child to recognise my condition and adapt. His condition has to be recognised as a factor for his motivation and how he will cope with prison. Asperger's in most cases is a good condition, many people with Asperger's have above average IQ and they can be easily mislead/deceived by other people which probably led to his hacking.

I think the parents have to blame here because with a teenager with Asperger's they should really monitor their obsessions to make sure their not getting out of hand. It's certainly not an excuse to be punished but it certainly changes the case.

Travis Alexander Brown said,
My sister's boyfriend made an animated short about this syndrome; thought I'd share for those who'd like visual reference: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eO7sKVKMO2s

I've seen the movie "Adam" 1-2 years ago. But, this animation was like a shortcut. Nice.

So, this "hacker" guy who got arrested, what could be his obsession? "The internet" I guess is pretty general term.

Deo Domuique said,

I've seen the movie "Adam" 1-2 years ago. But, this animation was like a shortcut. Nice.

So, this "hacker" guy who got arrested, what could be his obsession? "The internet" I guess is pretty general term.

No one source is going to give you a full understanding of how the condition affects each and every individual. I have seen "Adam", and it is a good film, but if you were to generalise it completely you would come to a lot of inaccurate conclusions about people. The same is true of that animation.

I have a stupid question: IRC server?
Why can't they just use a custom IM? PGP with strong encryption - so no mitm attack or other **** can take place. No external server, p2p connection, they can even use torrents to connect over that in a swarm and there will be so much data that will drown any attempt to keep a tab on the connection.

From what I gather LulzSec is a closed group - so there is no need for an open place to meet like it is with Anonymous.

It's like breaking in the Fort Knox and getting caught in a bus station sharing the loot.

Atreus said,
I have a stupid question: IRC server?
Why can't they just use a custom IM? PGP with strong encryption - so no mitm attack or other **** can take place. No external server, p2p connection, they can even use torrents to connect over that in a swarm and there will be so much data that will drown any attempt to keep a tab on the connection.

From what I gather LulzSec is a closed group - so there is no need for an open place to meet like it is with Anonymous.

It's like breaking in the Fort Knox and getting caught in a bus station sharing the loot.


They can't code, they're using a 0day released by jester who's now after them.
Plus, unrealircd + openssl and a generated certificate on the server = good security

It's not a simple situation. Assuming the diagnosis of Asperger syndrome is a correct one, this doesn't necessarily mean that his ability to judge the appropriateness of his actions in this case was impaired. It also doesn't necessarily mean that Gary MacKinnon's judgement was or wasn't impaired.

The effect of Asperger's or autism from one person to another is hugely variable, as are any other conditions that run alongside it. In order to make a judgement on whether or not it affects the degree of responsibility for their actions it is necessary to consider both men individually.

In the case of MacKinnon the security breaches he committed were unskilled, and he was looking for evidence of UFOs, which rather suggests his capacity to understand his actions was somewhat limited.

However this man is stated to be of high intelligence and have difficulty interacting with others. The motivations behind his alleged offence seem to be much more considered. Difficulties in social interaction alone wouldn't make this behaviour acceptable (not that MacKinnon's behaviour was either, but it may have been more understandable).

However without having personal knowledge of either suspect it would be impossible to draw any robust conclusions about them - I would from my own personal experience of autism and autistic people however be certain that each case needs to be seen separately.

It's also worth noting that in the case of MacKinnon he is facing prosecution by the US, and the penalties they wish to impose are very different from those that would likely be imposed by the UK. Secondly there is another issue at the heart of the case, and that is the perceived inequity in the bi-lateral US-UK extradition treaty.


Alastair Cooper said,
[...]

Secondly there is another issue at the heart of the case, and that is the perceived inequity in the bi-lateral US-UK extradition treaty.


Finally, I well thought-out response to the matter. The issue [in MacKinnon's case] regarding extradition is certainly a touchy subject and the authorities are definitely taking precedence over a case that appears to be less skilled than the LulzSec one. Anyone can blank password check.

Personally, I feel that the diagnosis of Asperger's being used as a defence in court seems to be a bit of a cop-out but unfortunately, due to the varying levels of effect that this condition can have on a person's phyche, people will have to tread carefully before comparing one case [LulzSec] to another [MacKinnon].

Cheap cop-out so he can walk out on a technicality. He knew what he was doing, he knew what would happen, he knows the difference between right and wrong. Throw the book at him!

bjoswald said,
Cheap cop-out so he can walk out on a technicality. He knew what he was doing, he knew what would happen, he knows the difference between right and wrong. Throw the book at him!

No where in the article did they say he was using that as a cop-out. They were trying to get his bail so he didn't have to sit in jail and suffer while they waited for the court date. Oh here I have an idea. Let's say for instance you, my good sir, had Schizophrenia. Uh-oh you did a big no-no! Now as your punishment we are going to stick you in a chair with a TV infront of you and turn on the most scariest movies we can think of for a couple weeks. Then were going to start flickering the lights and playing creepy sounds. Now is that right? I don't think so.

Agoraphobia is treatment with SSRIs/benzos. This is probably why his lawyer is using Asperger's Syndrome because it would generally rule out the ability of using an SSRI to treat his extreme anxiety. From my understanding a generalized anxiety and social anxiety are more common, but agoraphobia would fall under this.

I don't think it's really much of a defense. Still, it would go a long way in explaining why this group seems to be so disconnected from "the real world."

azure.sapphire said,
Agoraphobia is treatment with SSRIs/benzos. This is probably why his lawyer is using Asperger's Syndrome because it would generally rule out the ability of using an SSRI to treat his extreme anxiety. From my understanding a generalized anxiety and social anxiety are more common, but agoraphobia would fall under this.
Not you, but also often not exception is co-morbidity.

I don't think it's really much of a defense. Still, it would go a long way in explaining why this group seems to be so disconnected from "the real world."

do you 2 above have the slightet clue about how gary and ryna's conditions affect them. yes what they did was wrong and there was no excuese for it, but the lawers are not using that as an excuese to defend what they did. now stop your witch hunting. if it was a family member of yours in this situation you wouldnt be bitching about it!.

xSuRgEx said,
do you 2 above have the slightet clue about how gary and ryna's conditions affect them. yes what they did was wrong and there was no excuese for it, but the lawers are not using that as an excuese to defend what they did. now stop your witch hunting. if it was a family member of yours in this situation you wouldnt be bitching about it!.

If their lawyers weren't using it as an excuse for what they did, then why bring it up?

SSCorporal said,

Deleted!

Of course the police didn't find an IRC server on the PCs and servers they raided and let that information out to the press... No, it never happened...

Edited by Walid W., Jun 25 2011, 7:08pm :

Tweaky Nippleton said,

If their lawyers weren't using it as an excuse for what they did, then why bring it up?

This has an effect in his mental capacity within the legal court system. Basically, it could break him down psychologically, making him suicidal, or even a greater harm to others.

Del-Funky Smelly Be. said,
-99 Douchbag!
And who are you to judge when I see you in the forums saying the same of gays.

can you say hypocrite.

perochan said,
he is faking it.

And I suppose you know him, you Gonk?
as I doubt that how the hell can you comment on something you are assuming?

perochan said,
he is faking it.

Aspergers is pretty common. Im pretty sure my old roommate had it and he was very into computers and anti-social/awkward. I wouldnt be surprised at all if this guy had it too. Of course, it should be previously diagnosed to have significance.

bull****, the lawyer defending him and gary mckinnon should be barred from ever working as a lawyer again and needs to stop using the same medical problem as an excuse.

n_K said,
bull****, the lawyer defending him and gary mckinnon should be barred from ever working as a lawyer again and needs to stop using the same medical problem as an excuse.
Maybe, but EVERYONE deserves a defense, Period.

DerekMorgan said,
Maybe, but EVERYONE deserves a defense, Period.

Yes, an unbiased defence that isn't poised by medical conditions they clearly don't have which are being used with the clever intention that the majority of the population doesn't have much of a clue about what said medical condition even means or does and can be misinterpreted very easily.

n_K said,

Yes, an unbiased defence that isn't poised by medical conditions they clearly don't have which are being used with the clever intention that the majority of the population doesn't have much of a clue about what said medical condition even means or does and can be misinterpreted very easily.
NO GOOGLING (or the likes)

What is a myocardial infarction?
or a transient ischemic attack?
or schizophrenia? (beyond the steretype)
what about pick's disease?
Tendonitis?

i know everyone of them (w/o googling) and i know the public knowledge of them either does not exist, influenced by biased steretypes, or non-universal.

way to show experts are stupid and unnecessary........... yes lets prescribe drugs too being they are not needed. /s

DerekMorgan said,
NO GOOGLING (or the likes)

What is a myocardial infarction?
or a transient ischemic attack?
or schizophrenia? (beyond the steretype)
what about pick's disease?
Tendonitis?

i know everyone of them (w/o googling) and i know the public knowledge of them either does not exist, influenced by biased steretypes, or non-universal.

way to show experts are stupid and unnecessary........... yes lets prescribe drugs too being they are not needed. /s

I know the first one and Schizophrenia. OnTopic: If he has Aspergers which from my understanding just affects his social ability, it doesn't affect his knowledge of right and wrong.

DerekMorgan said,
NO GOOGLING (or the likes)

What is a myocardial infarction?
or a transient ischemic attack?
or schizophrenia? (beyond the steretype)
what about pick's disease?
Tendonitis?

i know everyone of them (w/o googling) and i know the public knowledge of them either does not exist, influenced by biased steretypes, or non-universal.

way to show experts are stupid and unnecessary........... yes lets prescribe drugs too being they are not needed. /s

What? No googling? Blasphemy! This is the internet!

n_K said,
bull****, the lawyer defending him and gary mckinnon should be barred from ever working as a lawyer again and needs to stop using the same medical problem as an excuse.

The lawyer is just doing his/her job you idiot. What kind of lawyer would they be if they DIDN'T try to make excuses (mitigation) for the client?

Kreuger said,
I know the first one and Schizophrenia. OnTopic: If he has Aspergers which from my understanding just affects his social ability, it doesn't affect his knowledge of right and wrong.

Unfortunately Asperger's Syndrome can.

Myocardiac infarction: basically a heart attack, but caused by myogenic heart tissue having a lack of sufficient oxygen concentration to carry out their functions.

TIA: a small blood clot in a blood vessel in the brain.

Schizophrenia: long-term psychological condition which results in a break down of thought processes and disintegration of a host of other processes required for social mobility and psychopathic integration.

Pick's disease: I'm guessing some form of dementia, but I cannot be sure.

Tendonitis: this is where the tendons become inflamed.

I'm probably one of the few that knows this off the top of my head in this conversation.

ShamilN said,

Unfortunately Asperger's Syndrome can.

Myocardiac infarction: basically a heart attack, but caused by myogenic heart tissue having a lack of sufficient oxygen concentration to carry out their functions.

TIA: a small blood clot in a blood vessel in the brain.

Schizophrenia: long-term psychological condition which results in a break down of thought processes and disintegration of a host of other processes required for social mobility and psychopathic integration.

Pick's disease: I'm guessing some form of dementia, but I cannot be sure.

Tendonitis: this is where the tendons become inflamed.

I'm probably one of the few that knows this off the top of my head in this conversation.

Oh I knew what a TIA was as well. I just didn't know that was the full name From what I've been told knowing a few people who've had them, it's said to be sort of like a mini stroke.