DOJ to announce new criminal charges against Lockerbie bombing suspect: report

The Department of Justice plans to announce criminal charges against a suspect in the 1988 Lockerbie, Scotland bombing on Monday, CNN reported Sunday evening. 

Before officially leaving his position, Attorney General William Barr intends to announce charges against former Libyan intelligence officer Abu Agila Mohammad Masud for his involvement with the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, three officials briefed on the matter told CNN. 

Barr, who served as the attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush, will reveal the charges on the 32nd anniversary of the attack of the flight over Scotland that resulted in 270 people dead, most of whom were Americans. 

Officials think Masud is in Libya. They told CNN that the U.S. is discussing his potential extradition with Libya and talking to Scotland officials about obtaining evidence for the case. Prosecutors are expected to file the charges in D.C.

The Justice Department did not immediately return a request for comment.

When Barr was the attorney general for Bush, he announced the charges against two other men associated with Libyan intelligence in the attack. The U.S. alleged that Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi and Al Amin Khalifah Fhimah put explosives in a cassette and radio player inside a suitcase on the plane. 

A trial in a Scottish court in the Netherlands acquitted Fhimah and convicted Megrahi, who was sentenced to 27 years in prison but was released early due to a cancer diagnosis. He died in 2012, according to CNN.

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the U.S. would unseal charges against Masud for the Lockerbie bombing after he allegedly confessed to Libyan officials in 2012 and Scottish officials obtained the confession in 2017. 

Former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his government had denied being involved in the attack for more than a decade. But he agreed to pay more than $2 billion in compensation to the victims’ families in 2003.

At a 2019 memorial for the victims, Barr said that “nothing was more important to me” than when he investigated the bombings as attorney general.

“I must say that, to this day, I am not satisfied with our country’s overall response to the attack,” he said at the time, according to CNN. “I never thought that putting two Libyan intelligence officers on trial should be the sum and substance of our response.”

The new charges are expected to be announced after President Trump said Barr would step down as attorney general in the month ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. His resignation letter indicated Barr planned to depart on Dec. 23. 

Tags Abu Agila Mohammad Masud Attorney general Bombing Department of Justice DOJ Donald Trump Joe Biden Justice Department libya Libya intelligence Lockerbie bombing Scotland William Barr
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