Dec 21, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Barr announces new charges in 1988 Lockerbie bombing

Bill Barr

Photo: Jeff Roberson/Pool/Getty Images

Attorney General William Barr on Monday announced new charges related to the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Scotland in 1988, which killed 270 people, including 190 Americans.

Why it matters: The Lockerbie bombing was the single deadliest terrorist attack ever carried out in the U.K.

The big picture: One of Barr's first major appearances as attorney general for President George H.W. Bush was announcing indictments against two Libyan operatives in connection to the attack. Monday's announcement is likely to be his last public appearance as attorney general for President Trump.

  • A third suspect was charged on Monday in relation to the explosion — Abu Agila Mohammad Masud, who is already imprisoned in Libya, per the Wall Street Journal.
  • It's unclear whether Libya will allow the suspect to be extradited for a U.S. trial.

Barr has expressed frustration with the drawn-out case, telling the Journal, "We should have hit the Libyan intelligence service and Gadhafi very hard as soon as we figured out who did it, but nothing happened."

  • But the attorney general now says it's "gratifying" to reach this point in the investigation.
  • Worth noting: Former special counsel Robert Mueller, with whom Barr clashed over the Russia investigation, served as head of the Justice Department’s criminal division and helped lead the original Lockerbie investigation.

What he's saying: "Let there be no mistake, no amount of time or distance will stop the United States and our Scottish partners from pursuing justice in this case," Barr said at a press conference on Monday.

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