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, reports the Wall Street Journal. In 1991, Barr laid out indictments of two Libyan intelligence officials in the bombing that killed 270 people, including 190 Americans. “This investigation is by no means over,” he said. “We have the resolve and the ability to track down, no matter how long it takes, those responsible for terrorist acts against Americans.” At Monday’s news conference on the 32nd anniversary of the bombing, Barr, who leaves office Wednesday, warned terrorists who victimize Americans that they “will be pursued to the ends of the earth until justice is done.”
The Justice Department unsealed a criminal complaint against a third suspect, Abu Agila Mohammad Masud, whom U.S. officials describe as a top bomb-maker for the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Masud has been imprisoned in Libya in connection with a number of crimes, and it isn’t known whether Libya will comply with a request to deliver him for what would be the first U.S. trial related to the attack. The charges open a new window into one of the longest and most sprawling terrorism investigations, renewing hope and grief for victims’ families. On Nov. 14, 1991, a few days before he was sworn in as attorney general under George H.W. Bush, Barr announced the indictments of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah. He promised to pursue anyone else involved in what he described years later as the “opening attack of modern-day mass terrorism against the American people.” Among those leading the Lockerbie investigation was Robert Mueller, who Barr singled out for praise.