William Barr asked President Donald J. Trump to extend his position as US Attorney General for a week to announce criminal charges in the case of the second-largest terrorist bombing against Americans because Barr said he felt personally invested in announcing the charges due to his own involvement at the time of the bombing 32 years ago.
At the time of the bombing, Barr was Attorney General, and Robert S. Mueller was head of the FBI’s criminal division. Many people have heard the tales of Mueller’s 30 years of work on the case.
In a question and answer period afterward, Barr admitted he did not invite Mueller to attend the press event, which included a mother of one of the victims, but did not explain what Mueller was slighted.
The Wall Street Journal reported on the event:
Attorney General William Barr’s announcement Monday of U.S. charges against a man accused of assembling the device that blew up Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 over Lockerbie, Scotland, marks a further step toward a goal he set nearly three decades ago.
“It’s gratifying to me to be in on this chapter,” he said in an interview last week.
In 1991, Mr. Barr laid out the first indictments, against two Libyan intelligence officials, in the bombing that killed 270 people, including 190 Americans. “This investigation is by no means over,” he said then. “We have the resolve and the ability to track down, no matter how long it takes, those responsible for terrorist acts against Americans.”
That announcement was one of Mr. Barr’s first major appearances during his previous stint as attorney general. Monday’s news conference on the 32nd anniversary of the bombing was expected to be his last official public act before he steps down on Wednesday after serving in the post for a second time.”
The AP reported:
“The bombing of Flight 103, whose victims included dozens of American college students, spurred global investigations and produced sanctions against Libya, which ultimately surrendered two intelligence officials for prosecution before a Scottish court sitting in the Netherlands.
The announcement of prosecution against an additional individual would carry personal significance for Attorney General William Barr, who is leaving the position next week but held the same job when the Justice Department nearly 30 years ago revealed criminal charges in the U.S. against the two Libyans. Monday is the 32nd anniversary of the bombing.”
From the FBI:
“Former Senior Libyan Intelligence Officer and Bomb Maker for the Muamar Qaddafi Regime Charged for the December 21, 1988, Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 @FBIWFO@TheJusticeDept”
“Abu Agela Mas’ud Kheir Al-Marimi allegedly played a role in building the bomb that exploded over Scotland. The charges against him are the result of hundreds of interviews and leads that took investigators to 16 countries to pore over decades-old evidence.”
“The investigation has relied heavily on foreign partners, many in Scotland, where remnants of the plane fell, creating an 845-square-mile crime scene.”
32 years ago tonight I rushed to Lockerbie for the BBC after the bomb on Pan Am flight 103 killed 259 people onboard & 11 in the town. Twisted metal everywhere, so sharp it punctured the soles of my shoes. Half a street was flattened. On this day I think always of those people pic.twitter.com/m3Kowj7Lkl— Jeremy Bowen (@BowenBBC) December 21, 2020