In August 2009 British and American citizens everywhere were stunned to learn of the impending release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, better known as the Lockerbie Bomber. Al-Megrahi was convicted in 2001 for the murder of 259 passengers and crew of Pan Am Flight 103 which had been blown up by a terrorist’s bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988.
It took well over a decade to secure the conviction and imprisonment of al-Megrahi, and yet Scottish officials let him walk out of prison a free man and return to Libya for a hero’s welcome. The public was told that the Libyan mass murderer was being released on “compassionate grounds” because he only had 6 more months to live, but this turned out to be a vastly overly optimistic prediction as al-Megrahi would go on to survive for almost two more years before succumbing to cancer in May 2012.
In response to the nearly unaminous outcry surrounding the decision to let al-Megrahi walk, Obama took to the podium in August 2009 with UK Prime Minister David Cameron to insist the release of al-Megrahi was a “surprise” to him. He also insinuated BP, which at the time was being dragged over the coals for the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, might have played a role in the decision. The State Department said it would investigate whether BP had pushed for al-Megrahi’s release in order to win billions in Libyan oil exploration contracts while Obama welcomed “any additional information that will give us insights and better understanding on why the decision was made.”
It didn’t take long for the truth to come out. Not only was the Obama administration fully aware that al-Megrahi was scheduled for release, it didn’t exactly lobby very hard for the Scottish government to keep him in prison. Even though the White House wanted to keep their involvement a secret from the American people, the Scotland government released a letter by deputy head of the U.S. embassy in London Frank LeBaron proving that administration officials had been notified. “If Scottish authorities [conclude] that Megrahi must be released from Scottish custody, the U.S. position is that conditional release on compassionate grounds would be a far preferable alternative to prisoner transfer, which we strongly oppose”, LeBaron wrote. According to the Guardian UK, “Scottish officials took that to mean that the Obama administration had only ‘half-hearted’ opposition to al-Megrahi’s release.”
Obama not only lied to the American people about being blindsided about Scotland’s decision to release the Lockerbie Bomber, but he also tried to put the pin on a British company he knew had nothing to do with it. It was the Obama administration that had brokered the deal making the White House call for a sham investigation of BP nothing more than a political witch hunt to cover its hindside and blatant attempt to slander an innocent company.