Pan Am Flight 103 - Lockerbie Bombing CIA Files
255 pages of CIA files related to the Pan Am Flight 103, Lockerbie Bombing. The files date from 1984 to 1999. This set of files is unique because it includes memos on the direct handling of an intelligence source. This type of information is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and is not often released by the Agency.
About Pan Am Flight 103
Pan Am Flight 103 took off from London's Heathrow Airport on December 21, 1988. The 259 passengers and crew, including 189 Americans, were on their way to New York City. Twenty-seven minutes after leaving Heathrow, at 7:02 PM, while flying over Scotland, a bomb inside the plane exploded. Everyone on the plane and 11 people on the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland were killed. Thus the incident is often referred to as the Lockerbie Bombing.
An article appearing in the May 11, 1989 issue of the Washington Post reported that the Central Intelligence Agency had concluded that the Iranian government was responsible. The CIA believed that Iran hired a Palestinian group operating in Syria to perform the bombing. Eventually responsibility would be attributed to Libya.
On November 14, 1991 the United States and Britain announced criminal charges against two Libyan intelligence officers, Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah. In August of 1998, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi announced that his country would accept the United States and British plan to put the two suspects on trial by a Scottish court convened in the Netherlands. On April 5th, 1999 the two suspects were transported from Libya to the Netherlands. After a 40 week trial, on January 31, 2001, a three judge panel returned a guilty verdict against Abdel Baset Ali Mohamed al-Megrahi. The panel acquitted Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah.
About the CIA Files
This set of files covers the practice of Libya supplying weapons to terrorist groups. The files contain CIA reports created in the years before the Pan AM 103 bombing, covering Libya's methods of sponsoring terrorism. The files contain information on the assassinations of Libyan dissidents living abroad. One document contains a chronology of Libyan-sponsored assassination attempts from 1980 to 1985.
Memos outline contacts with a Libyan intelligence agent working for Libyan Arab Airlines in Malta. He first contacted the CIA on August 10, 1988. He described Malta as "a primary launching point" for Libyan intelligence and terrorist teams en route to and from Europe. Two months before the bombing, a CIA memo mentions information from the informant about a Libyan intelligence officer, Abdelbaset Mohmed Ali al-Megrahi, and the recent removal of explosives from storage in Malta. Al-Megrahi was eventually convicted of bombing Pan Am Flight 103.