When new British Prime Minister David Cameron recently visited the U.S., he was (rightfully) grilled over last year's decision to release convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi on "humanitarian" grounds. Al-Megrahi, the only individual prosecuted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 108 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, was allowed to go free last year, after doctors told Scottish officials that he was dying of prostate cancer. Returning to Libya, al-Megrahi was treated as a national hero.
Since then, Mr. al-Megrahi's health has taken an amazing turn for the better. Current medical assessments suggest the convicted bomber--responsible for the deaths of more than 100 American citizens--could easily live another 10 years. While Scottish authorities made the decision to release him, members of Congress pressed Mr. Cameron for more information on the decision-making process, including allegations that a British-Libyan oil deal may have influenced al-Megrahi's release.
Now, it appears that U.S. indignation over the matter was misplaced (at best) and hypocritical at worst. The Australian, quoting the U.K. Sunday Times, reports that Obama Administration officials told their Scottish counterparts that it would be "far preferable" to release al-Megrahi, rather than imprison him in Libya:
Correspondence obtained by The Sunday Times reveals the Obama administration considered compassionate release more palatable than locking up Abdel Baset al-Megrahi in a Libyan prison.
The intervention, which has angered US relatives of those who died in the attack, was made by Richard LeBaron, deputy head of the US embassy in London, a week before Megrahi was freed in August last year on grounds that he had terminal cancer.
The document, acquired by a well-placed US source, threatens to undermine US President Barack Obama's claim last week that all Americans were "surprised, disappointed and angry" to learn of Megrahi's release.
So far, the U.S. has refused to release the letter (what a surprise). But the correspondence certainly puts our "anger" in a different context. After months of enduring political cheap shots from the Obama Administration--and their friends in Congress--the Brits apparently decided to fight back, releasing the full text of the U.S. embassy letter.
Of course, the note is anything but a revelation. The U.K. Guardian first reported the letter's existence (and its contents) last August; since then, the British media has published various accounts of British officials expressing disgust over our hypocrisy in the al-Megrahi matter.
As two U.K. governments have discovered, the Obama crowd will throw anyone under the bus to advance its aims. The Brits have clearly reached a breaking point with the Anointed One and his foreign policy team; look for more leaks this week, to put more pressure on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to reveal what they knew about the proposed release.
If history is any indicator, both the President and Secretary of State will feign ignorance of the plan to set al-Megrahi free. And the former members of "JournoList" will play right along. How long before one of them suggests branding David Cameron a racist, to deflect attention away from yet another administration blunder.