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U.S. asks for review of Lockerbie bomber release

The Obama administration has urged the British and Scottish governments to review the decision to release the Libyan intelligence agent convicted of involvement in the Pan Am 103 bombing, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a letter provided to lawmakers on Monday.

The release last year of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi on humanitarian grounds has stirred renewed interest because of the potential involvement of BP in the decision. BP acknowledged last week that it urged the British government in 2007 to speed up a prisoner release because it was worried that a stalemate on the issue would undercut an oil exploration deal with Libya. But the company has denied it sought the specific release of Megrahi.

Megrahi served eight years of a life sentence for the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing, which killed 270 people -- many of them American.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a public hearing on the subject for July 29, and four lawmakers have sought a meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron when he arrives in Washington this week for a meeting with President Obama. Cameron, when he was opposition leader, had opposed the release, which was authorized by Scotland.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley acknowledged that there is little chance that the decision can be reversed. Megrahi, who was treated to a hero's welcome when he returned to Tripoli, was said to have had only three months to live, but he is a still alive nearly a year after his release.

Crowley said a review could ease concerns about BP's role. "Everybody has an interest in making sure that this was a decision that was made freely, based on the best information available and did not represent any inappropriate or skewed actions," he said.

By Glenn Kessler  | July 19, 2010; 5:36 PM ET
 
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Comments

When Bush pardoned the author of the Lockerbie murders, Libyan dictator Moammar Khaddafi, and made Khaddafi our "ally" in exchange for Libyan oil, the release of Khaddafi's agent became inevitable. Why doesn't the media talk about BUSH'S role in the release?

Posted by: jjedif | July 19, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

The longer this "near death" cancer patient lives, the more it appears that they let a guy go to a life of luxury and hero worship after eight years in the slammer for helping to murder all those people -- SO BP COULD MAKE SOME MONEY. Expose every pathetic greedy soul involved in this disgrace.

Posted by: kls1 | July 19, 2010 10:20 PM | Report abuse

jjedif:

I just checked the pardons list (it's publicly available in many places) and can't find a record of either President Bush pardoning Khaddafi. Can you link to it? I don't think you have your story straight.

Also, can you link to a statement by the US government that Libya is an ally? Can't find that either. Exactly what alliance are you referring to?

Posted by: rowerinva | July 19, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

While we're at it, let's probe our lack of action on Orlando Bosch and Luis Posada Carriles, the terrorists who also bombed a civilian airliner. Bosch currently lives openly in Miami.

Is it that Cuban terrorists are good?

Posted by: Garak | July 20, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

President George Walker Bush signed an Executive Order restoring the Libyan government's immunity from terror-related lawsuit and dismissing pending compensation cases. Libya, long identified as a state sponsor of terrorism, was both financier and command and control agent for the terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103. However, in 2003, George Walker Bush, as President of the United States of America, undertook efforts to normalized US relations Muammar al-Gaddafi by delisting Libya from the Department of State Terrorist Watch List... By 2006, George Walker Bush restored full diplomatic relations between the USA and the terrorist sponsor state, Libya. In September 2008, then US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with Muammar al-Gaddafi on a visit to Libya. The Bush administration hailed the event as historic. In August 2009, upon returning to Libya, the intelligence agent convicted in the terrorist Pan Am bombing was given a hero‘s welcome home by Muammar al-Gaddafi. To date George Walker Bush has yet to comment.

Posted by: whocares666 | July 20, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

rowerinva:

I think the "pardon" was figurative as we did move toward Khadafi and he made many consessions in return. THe Bush-Kaddafi mending of fences was one of the greater but hardly noticed victories of the Bush era.

Libya is an ally probably has a more literal reference albeit in Time or Newsweek in that we did seek to make, my words now, Libya an ally in the Global War on Terror. Perhaps the WP in telling us aabout all the secrets they will uncover, will also expose the coopreration that Khaddafi has given.

I hope that you can separate the literal from figurative and note that Momar has assisted. His motivation may be questioned but his actions were more concrete. Also, while wild crowds may have greeted Abdel Baset al-Megrahi and I personally would have urged m Momar to avoid any public comment, his words, in his native tongue, were very reserved.

Posted by: MarriedMann | July 20, 2010 9:03 AM | Report abuse

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