The Obama administration is facing unexpected scrutiny over Scotland's release of Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, following reports that the U.S. told Scottish ministers it would be "far preferable" to free the cancer-stricken terrorist than transfer him to a prison in Libya. President Obama said the U.S. was "surprised, disappointed, and angry" when it learned of Megrahi's release — but the leaked document indicated that Richard LeBaron, deputy head of the American embassy in London, had passed on the American reaction a week prior. Did the adminstration pave the way for Scotland to set a convicted terrorist free? (Watch an AP report about the Lockerbie bomber release)
It certainly looks like the White House helped spring Megrahi: LeBaron is "low enough on the totem pole" to let the administration shield Obama from responsibility, says Shannon Bell in Right Pundits, but that might not be enough to stop families of the Lockerbie bomber victims from demanding an explanation. The Obama administration has been pointing fingers at BP, which is preparing to drill in Libya, but it looks like Obama’s White House did as much or more than BP to win the bomber's "compassionate release."
"Obama White House backed Lockerbie bomber release"
Obama's critics are twisting the facts on purpose: Even for the liars in the right-wing bile machine, says Little Green Footballs, this "bogus outrage" is ridiculous. "The White House did not back the release" — it asked Scotland to keep Megrahi in prison, but said that if he was going to be freed the U.S. preferred compassionate release to transferring him to a Libyan prison. The administration did nothing wrong.
"The self-debunking outrageous outrage of the day"
If the administration wasn't evil, it was incompetent: Instead of forcefully objecting to the very suggestion that a murderous terrorist should be released, says Don Surber at the Charleston, W.V., Daily Mail, our advice to the Scottish ministers was "that the prison transfer is not a good enough charade; try a better cover." If LeBaron, a career diplomat, can't do better than that, we have a new "poster boy for State Department incompetence."
"What happened to no blood for oil?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Syrian women know how to defeat ISIS
- The U.S. Marines are developing laser weapons. Here's why.
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The one thing the New Atheists get right about religion
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Will Kobani be ISIS's Waterloo?
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- 3 horrific inaccuracies in Homeland's depiction of Islamabad
- How to make corn dogs
- 5 baffling foreign-language versions of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song
Subscribe to the Week