Forget Wikileaks. For genuine scandal, check out the newly released letter from the U.S. embassy in London to Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond. It reveals a) the Obama administration’s passivity in the run-up to Scotland’s release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, b) the administration’s deception in claiming to have had no foreknowledge of Megrahi’s release, and c) the administration’s inability to persuade other governments of anything.
Although President Obama previously said that he was “surprised, disappointed and angry” about Scotland’s release of Megrahi, the letter makes plain that there was no surprise whatsoever. The anger and disappointment now belong firmly to the American people. The letter contained a watery wink-and-nod “objection” to the release while simultaneously discussing how the U.S. would like to see the release proceed . Keeping the terrorist locked up or freeing him was just another Obaman false choice. Here’s how the State Department framed its hopes for the details of Megrahi’s liberation:
If a decision were made by Scotland to grant conditional release, two conditions would be very important to the Unites States and would partially mitigate the concerns of the American victims’ families. First, any such release should only come after the results of independent and comprehensive medical exams clearly establishing that Megrahi’s life expectancy is less than three months. The results of these exams should be made available to the Unites States and the families of the victims of Pan Am 103. The justification of releasing Megrahi on compassionate grounds would be more severely undercut the longer he is free before his actual death.
Second, the United States would strongly oppose any release that would permit Megrahi to travel outside of Scotland. We believe that the welcoming reception that Megrahi might receive if he is permitted to travel abroad would be extremely inappropriate given Megrahi’s conviction for a heinous crime that continues to have a deep and profound impact on so many. As such, compassionate release or bail should be conditioned on Megrahi remaining in Scotland.
0 for 2. A year later, Megrahi is alive and well in Libya. Forget outreach to the Muslim world and the open hand extended toward Iran. At this point, our president needs to make a speech in the capital of a free, Western country, affirming our ties with (and re-establishing our leadership of) the democratic world.