Early 1989 was a time of intense recrimination between German authorities and their British and American counterparts over whose airport security failed on December 21 1988. One of the lesser charges hurled at the time also bears a then-oddball but now-familiar stamp of blame. On February 3 1989, based on what someone had told them, CBS News reported that Libyans may have been behind the whole thing. The Herald (Scotland) reported on this, and I thank to JREF forum member Spitfire IX for the tip.
Libyan link to Lockerbie blast
3 February 1989
“INVESTIGATORS believe that employees of Libyan Arab Airways in Frankfurt planted the bomb which destroyed a PanAm Jumbo jet four days before Christmas, killing 270 people in and around Lockerbie, according to the American television network CBS News.”
This is far too early for any of the bogus clues against Megrahi to have emerged. It’s also far too early to be motivated by Gulf War alliances mandating a blind eye to Syria, as some assess the motive. It doesn’t appear to be based on any evidence (see below), but it must have been based on something or it wouldn’t have been said.
“CBS said that at least 100 Libyan airline employees are intelligence operatives under the command of Abdullah Senoussi, who is related to the country's leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Senoussie reportedly has a printing plant which produces forged luggage tags, among other documents.”
That certainly would not explain accused Fhimah’s later plot to flat steal Air Malta tags for the bombing, a "clue" that wouldn’t emerge for over two years. In fact, these sounds like hollow points of speculation, maybe just a handy occasion to again draw attention to Frankfurt while floating a novel solution to the embarrassing truth. Of course, only a few people would know this soon just how embarrassing that would be.
“The bomb, said by CBS to contain 20lbs of plastic explosives, was in a suitcase falsely labelled to fly to New York, via London, on flight 103. It was not searched, x-rayed, or even weighed-in at Frankfurt airport, where it was smuggled in through a ''back door,'' the TV report said, citing an American source.
CBS said the device was believed to be identical to a suitcase bomb found by West German police, in the days before the Lockerbie disaster, when they arrested 14 members of Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command.”
There is no likeness, "identical" or otherwise, implied in the given description. Mot obviously, the ones seized were designed to blow up within 30-45 minutes or an hour (it's complicated) of leaving the ground, which has never fitted with an origin at Frankfurt or further out. Not with the blast 38 minutes after leaving London. Further, the only one of the PFLP-GC devices known of at the time contained 312 grams of Semtex-H, or well under one pound. Three found later were comparable, and the bomb used on 103 was at least that weight, and perhaps as high as 680 grams, based on the container damage. Again nowhere near this alleged 20 pound Libyan monster.
In fact, such small amounts of explosive could only work as fatally as happened on Soltice ’88 with the choicest placement within the luggage container - against the sloping outboard floor panel just two feet from the plane's skin. This is entirely possible by random baggage loading, but far less than a 50/50 shot. There’s still no guarantee, but at least a good 50/50, if the luggage is actually arranged by a terrorists who knows of the sweet spot. Someone else could then move it, or not move it. And of course that could only happen at Heathrow where the container was loaded, hundreds of miles from those dastardly Libyans at Frankfurt and their "back door" antics that still have never been elaborated.
That unspecified “American source” would have presumably been someone involved in an investigation. And we know the CIA’s probe into 103 was headed by Vincent Cannistraro, head of Agency’s counter-terrorism center. Previously, Cannistraro was one of Reagan’s make-s***-up-about-Libya men (See Maltese Double Cross – 42:40 mark). Along with Ollie North and Howard Teicher at the NSC, he used input from CIA and Deprtment of Defense to seed disinformation in the media to justify a policy of covert U.S. harassment of Col. Gaddafi up to coup plans and attempted assassination by Cruise missile, in 1986.
I’d bet money that Vincent Cannistraro was the source for this allegation. He’s friendly with the press, and always eager to tell them whatever’s convenient at the moment with some flair and no compunctions. The story had Libyan intel agents working through LAA at an airport connected to the Lockerbie bombing. The CIA at that time had Abdul Majid Giaka’s stories on file, mentioning both Megrahi and Fhimah as just such agents, but attachedto LAA at Luqa airport on Malta.
Of course, no further moves were made for quite a while, as investigators spent all of 1989 and 1990 at least publicly pushing the PFLP-GC leads - and increasingly Malta leads. Even the suspicious, possibly backdated evidence pointing at Libya was dated around May ’89 and not generally understood for around a year. If this is indeed an early stirring of Vince’s Libya solution, it was too early after waking from the haze of no leads that can be pursued. Libyan guilt rather than PFLP-GC/Syria/Iran probably did look nice and comforting passing through the national news, but just six weeks after the bombing, it was clearly something to come back to after a cup of coffee and a fistful of planted clues.