Richard Marquise in Response to Lucy Adams at The Herald

Richard Marquise, a former FBI agent who investigated the bombing, wrote a letter to Lucy Adams at The Herald in response to her article Embarrassment to a nation or an act of compassion?. He shared his letter with the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103 as well as allowed The Herald to print it as a letter to the editor.

I have followed your articles on Lockerbie with interest before and after we had the chance to speak a year or so ago. You have generally been fair in your reporting but the article entitled "Embarrassment to a nation or an act of compassion" causes me to want to respond.

I certainly have an opinion about the guilt of Mr. Megrahi and Libya and have voiced it many times. That opinion is based on knowledge of the evidence not speculation, hypothesis or rumor which seems prevalent in the UK--both on blogs and in the media. Most people including those in the media are totally unaware of the facts of the case and even a renowned Edinburgh professor who maintains his own blog about Lockerbie has been wrong regarding some of the facts.

You may be right that Mr. Megrahi may well go home soon to his family, something 270 people never got to do that night nearly 21 years ago. I regret he is ill--how ill is subject to debate--as I would prefer he have a long opportunity to think about what he (and others) did in December 1988.

I agree the biggest losers are the relatives of those who died because some will never be certain that it was the Libyan government who was responsible for the attack.

Those who believe he should be released (because they believe he is innocent) should ask more questions--certainly not of the media or the pundits because they have no idea of the facts. They only have their opinions. They should ask why Libyan officials were trying to find MST-13 timers in December 1988. A certain Swiss businessman was asked to bring more of these to Libya the week before the bombing but was unable to do so. Unfortunately for him, he had only made 20, had no more circuit boards which matched the first 20 and he had already given all these to Libyan officials.

It was a senior Libyan official who had ordered the majority of all the Toshiba radios similar to that which carried the bomb. This official also talked in 1986 about putting a bag on a British or American flight from Malta. Ask why?

Ask why Mr. Megrahi was picked out of a lineup by a Maltese shopkeeper as resembling the man who purchased the clothing contained in the bomb suitcase. It was strange that of all the people in the world, Mr. Megrahi was in Malta the same day the clothing was purchased and was there the same day the bomb left on its fateful journey.

Ask why Mr. Megrahi had opened a “front” business in Zurich, at the premises of the man who had given the Libyan officials the MST-13 timers.

Ask why Mr. Megrahi came to Malta from Tripoli on the evening of December 20, 1988, in a false name and only stayed long enough to get a night's sleep. Ask why his friend and co-traveler on that date, Mr. Fhimah, who still had possession of his airside access badge as well as a notation in his diary he needed to get "Air Malta taggs," spoke with him on the early morning of December 21. Mr. Megrahi left on a flight some 30 minutes after he had safely seen his "cargo"--the suitcase containing the bomb--leave for Frankfurt.

After Mr. Megrahi was indicted he told an American reporter he never heard of his other identity (Abdusamad), he never heard of the Swiss company where he had his front business, would never be a member of Libyan intelligence (only a fool works for the intelligence service) and lastly, "On December 20-21, 1988, believe me, I was not there (Malta), I was here, in Tripoli, with my family." I guess now we are to believe him again--even after he lied the last time. He is innocent. Someone should ask him too, with whom did he travel to Malta on the evening of December 20 and what business did he conduct there? Others know the answer but I submit he will not tell the truth about that either. Ask why he lied then and if he acknowledges the lie, ask why is anyone supposed to believe him now?

Your article insinuated that American families want punishment and British families want compassion. I assure you, Americans are a very compassionate people but we also believe in justice. Most Americans never lost sight of the fact that America was the target--not the UK--your citizens (as well as those from about 20 other countries) were unfortunately there. However, America lost 189 of its finest citizens and we have not forgotten that. Yes, we are forgiving, but one has to ask for forgiveness for it to be given. Ask why Mr. Megrahi has not yet asked for forgiveness. Neither Mr. Megrahi nor Mr. Gaddaffi have done that. In fact, in January 2009, Mr. Gaddaffi was asked by an American student why--since agents of his Government were convicted in courts for both the Pan Am 103 and UTA 772 attacks--he has not apologized. His simple response was that Lockerbie was a "closed case." We need to remember that Mr. Gaddaffi has admitted to his government being responsible for the Lockerbie attack. You talked of Mr. Gaddaffi "renouncing terrorism and weapons of mass destruction" but forget a seminal moment which had occurred just a week before he did that. Another Middle Eastern tyrant had been dragged out of a hole in the ground. I think Mr. Gaddaffi may have felt he was next. I might have opted to join the "good guys" as well.

Your article was wrong when you state that Abu Talb was the "original suspect" in this case. That is not true (see PFLP-GC). Your article also talks of a CIA search of his "flat in Germany" which is wrong as he lived in Sweden (testimony at the Lockerbie trial indicated he was in Sweden when the Lockerbie attack happened). Additionally a reporter should have a basic understanding of American agencies--the CIA is not a criminal investigative agency--does not collect evidence and never did any search in this case. The fact that there was never any evidence of Talb's involvement seems to have been lost in your story.

In addition to the above, many of the stories written over the past several years, especially in the frenzy which has surrounded this past week, have contained many errors of fact. I believe in a free press but it should be responsible for ascertaining the facts are correct.

I am convinced of the righteousness of the conviction and wish others could have stood in the dock as well. I am not a family member and as such do not the standing victim families do. I do not speak for them but I believe that if Mr. Megrahi would answer the above questions, admit his culpability, identify his co-conspirators and apologize, that would go a long way in convincing American families to become more "compassionate."