Ex-Spy: Iran, Not Libya, Ordered Lockerbie Bombing

Attack was 'revenge for downing of Iranian plane'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 11, 2014 12:10 AM CDT
Updated Mar 11, 2014 5:03 AM CDT
Ex-Spy: Iran, Not Libya Ordered Lockerbie Bombing
In this December 1988 file photo, a police officer walks past the wreckage in Lockerbie, Scotland, after the terrorist bombing killed 270 people.   (AP Photo/File)

The Libyan convicted of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 went to his grave protesting his innocence—and new evidence suggests he was telling the truth and it was actually Iran behind the Lockerbie attack, an al-Jazeera investigation finds. A former Iranian intelligence officer is among the sources who say the bombing was actually the work of a Syria-based extremist group called the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, acting under orders from Ayatollah Khomeini to "to copy exactly what happened to the Iranian Airbus" that had been downed by the US Navy months earlier, killing 290 people. Prosecutors accused Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset al-Megrahi of targeting the plane as revenge for the 1986 US bombing of Libya.

The finding is no surprise to former CIA agent Robert Baer, who was involved in the Lockerbie probe and says the Department of Justice ignored intelligence and targeted Libya when the evidence pointed to Iran. "As far as I can tell is someone said, look, Libya's vulnerable to prosecution, small country, Gadhafi's hated, let’s go for it," he says. "It was an executive decision, and then once that happened everybody lined up." A spokesman for a group of British victims' relatives says he is "delighted" by the new evidence. It will provide further grounds for appeal in the Megrahi case, he tells the Telegraph, calling the conviction "the tool which the authorities use to block our attempts to find out the truth about who killed our loved ones." (More Lockerbie stories.)

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