My Brother’s BomberView film
MY BROTHER'S BOMBER (EPISODE ONE)
CO-PRODUCED & EDITED BY
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
H. Scott Salinas
WRITTEN, PRODUCED & DIRECTED BY
LOCKERBIE MAN: Can I ask you, do you know what’s happened? Looks like there are a number of houses on fire. Is it a residential area?
LOCKERBIE WOMAN: They think it’s a plane, but they don’t know yet.
LOCKERBIE MAN: We believe a jet plane’s come down on some houses, but that’s all we know.
LOCKEBIE MAN: OK, thanks very much.
NEWSCASTER: Disaster at Christmas. Pan Am 103 had been in the air for an hour. For reasons we do not yet understand, the plane, with 50,000 gallons of fuel on board, plunged into a small Scottish town.
NEWSCASTER: —covered Lockerbie with liquid fire.
NEWSCASTER: The fuselage reported split in two.
NEWSCASTER: There’s very little hope, I would have thought, for anybody who was in that plane. When it did come to earth, it hit very hard.
CREW MEMBER: OK, roll camera. Slate. Scene 4. Take one. Action.
DAVID DORNSTEIN: I mean, for some time, the impression has been growing upon me that everyone is dead—
TIM BLAKE NELSON, David’s Friend: When that plane went down, David was figuring out how to be true to himself as an artist.
CREW MEMBER: Cut, cut, cut.
TIM BLAKE NELSON: He had an insatiable appetite for everything.
DAVID DORNSTEIN: Hello?
TIM BLAKE NELSON: He lived his life saying yes. And when the rest of us were sleeping, he was reading and writing. And when the rest of us were awake, he was more awake.
NEWSCASTER: The aspiring novelist had wanted to surprise his family with an early arrival home. Instead, he wound up on the doomed Flight 103 and never made it. This was what his brother had to say today.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [David’s memorial] Somewhere in Scotland, Lockerbie, you’re looking for your notebook, a pen. It’s there in the debris.
MELISSA BROWN: And I remember you, you know, giving the memorial. And we thought it was great. You were reading letters from David. You know, I get the sense that you kind of look up to him, and he was older, but he thought so highly of you.
NEWSCASTER: Only one man was ever convicted for the crime, a Libyan, who was to spend the rest of his life in prison— was to spend the rest of his life. Today, the government of Scotland released Abdel Basset al Megrahi.
NEWSCASTER: Libyan intelligence agent is dying of prostate cancer. Scottish officials are granting him what they call a compassionate release.
NEWSCASTER: Relatives of the victims are outraged.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] And then I saw the motorcade covered from every angle.
NEWSCASTER: —just eight years of a life sentence—
KEN DORNSTEIN: And the only person ever convicted of—
[on camera] [to Lockerbie relative] —the bombing of flight 103, the murder of your daughter, my brother.
NEWSCASTER: Tonight, the Lockerbie bomber—
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] And I’m watching him go free, live on television.
NEWSCASTER: An innocent dying man, or a mass murderer set free?
KEN DORNSTEIN: I’m asking myself, is the murderer getting away? And how far would I go to find out whether he is who he seems to be?
NEWSCASTER: Qaddafi’s ouster and death in 2011 provided Lockerbie investigators with a new opportunity.
NEWSCASTER: In Tripoli, the smell of victory.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And I guess what I was thinking was maybe you could show up in Libya and maybe it would be possible to get an answer for once.
MELISSA BROWN: As long as it’s good for you. As long as it’s good for you.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I don’t know if it’s good for me. You know, my wife and kids say maybe it’s not great for you to be running around a failed state.
MELISSA BROWN: Now, that’s true. You maybe want to be careful about being an American in Libya.
NORMAN ATKINS: In some perverse way, I’m glad that you’re tracking down the last of the killers and finding justice for your brother and my friend. I think that David would have enjoyed the chase and enjoyed the idea that you were going to sit down with his murderer.
KATHRYN GEISMAR: Remind me when you’re going?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Tomorrow.
KATHRYN GEISMAR: What time?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Just until Sunday. The plane leaves at 4:00— 4:00, 4:30.
SAM DORNSTEIN: AM?
KEN DORNSTEIN: So when I leave you— when I take you guys to school, I’ll say goodbye because I won’t be here when you get back.
SAM DORNSTEIN: I never know with you. I thought it was going to be 4:30 in the morning.
KEN DORNSTEIN: No. But I want to explain— I mean, you guys know I do a bunch of different kinds of films, but this one film that I’ve been doing— I haven’t spoken much about it because I never— I mean, I know you guys know that I had a brother, but you probably haven’t heard me say that much about him. Have you guys seen pictures of Uncle David?
SAM DORNSTEIN: Yes, I have. He had very curly hair.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And there’s—
SOPHIE DORNSTEIN: Dad is this you?
KEN DORNSTEIN: There’s Uncle David. There he is with some shaving cream.
SAM DORNSTEIN: He looks very thoughtful. He’s, like, “Hmm.”
KEN DORNSTEIN: So that’s Uncle David when he was little, and that’s Uncle David—
SOPHIE DORNSTEIN: Nine? He looks 8 or 9.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Yeah, he could have been your age.
SOPHIE DORNSTEIN: 7, 8, or 9.
KEN DORNSTEIN: He could have been your age there.
SOPHIE DORNSTEIN: That’s Aunt Susan?
KEN DORNSTEIN: That’s Aunt Susan.
SOPHIE DORNSTEIN: She looks like a little girl!
KATHRYN GEISMAR: Guess who this is? [laughter]
SAM DORNSTEIN: That so looks like you! That is so you.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I had my hair parted very—
KATHRYN GEISMAR: I was going to say, Sam, do you think he slicked his hair?
KEN DORNSTEIN: My hair was parted—
SAM DORNSTEIN: No, I don’t!
KATHRYN GEISMAR: He was very geek chic.
KEN DORNSTEIN: You see Uncle David kind of growing up. He’s kind of teenager-ish there.
SAM DORNSTEIN: Adidas.
KEN DORNSTEIN: He was just like you guys. He went to camp—
SAM DORNSTEIN: He had girlfriends—
KEN DORNSTEIN: Anyway, if he had lived, he would have been like a real character. He would have come to dinner—
SOPHIE DORNSTEIN: Wait. Who’s this?
KEN DORNSTEIN: This is his college graduation.
SAM DORNSTEIN: He looks a bit like you.
KEN DORNSTEIN: That’s Uncle David. So he thought we looked alike, too.
SOPHIE DORNSTEIN: Is that you?
KEN DORNSTEIN: I used to think— I used to think we don’t look at all alike.
SOPHIE DORNSTEIN: Dad, that’s you!
DAVID DORNSTEIN: He’s just like me. He’s younger, but he’s just like me. He even looks sort of like me.
WOMAN: What is going on here?
DAVID DORNSTEIN: I’m sending a letter home to my brother. So I told him I’d tell him what brunch was all about. So I’m taping brunch.
WOMAN: Hi, Bro!
DAVID DORNSTEIN: Stephanie’s from Long Island.
MAN: What’s your brother’s name?
DAVID DORNSTEIN: My brother’s name is Ken.
WOMAN: Ken? How old is Ken?
DAVID DORNSTEIN: Fifteen.
TIM BLAKE NELSON, David’s Friend: David saw in you a kindred spirit, but also one of his best friends. And I marveled at that. Here he is, this towering figure on campus, and My God, he loves his brother who’s in high school! He just talks about him all the time.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] The actual incident itself, the Lockerbie bombing— do you care at all about who did it or why?
TIM BLAKE NELSON: I certainly care about it. It personalizes what terrorism means because I lost someone I loved in a terrorist act. But I found it impossible to associate David’s death with the images of plane fragments on the ground in Scotland. I still can’t. All I can think of is David alive.
NEWSCASTER: One of those dead was remembered today here in the Delaware Valley, tearful relatives and friends gathering at Temple Beth Sholom in Elkins Park to honor the memory of 25-year-old David Dornstein of Cheltenham.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] When David died, I was 19 years old. I was home from college for Christmas break, and my sister was on her way home, as well. My father took the call from the airline, and I sat with him as we got the news that David was gone.
NEWSCASTER: The relatives of some of those who died have arrived in Britain from America.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Many families flew immediately to Lockerbie, but mine stayed home. The bombing became a topic we could never manage to discuss.
NEWSCASTER: It was a week ago tonight that flight 103 fell out of the sky, leaving a 100-mile trail of twisted wreckage and 270 victims. Today, investigators said the evidence was conclusive. It was a bomb.
NEWSCASTER: At the center of their search is the crater which was gouged out of the ground by the Pan American jet.
NEWSCASTER: President Reagan said the U.S. would make every effort to find out who bombed the Pan Am jet.
Pres. RONALD REAGAN: I have been following quite closely the details of the Pan Am 103 tragedy. And now that we know definitely that it was a bomb, we’re going to make every effort we can to find out who was guilty.
RELATIVE OF VICTIM: I would hope to God that our government would definitely take a long hard look at this because if we don’t stop—-
KEN DORNSTEIN: A group of relatives quickly became public campaigners for the truth about Lockerbie.
NEWSCASTER: Jim Swire said, “We’re not going to go away until we get what we want.”
KEN DORNSTEIN: Among the most prominent, and controversial, was a British doctor named Jim Swire, who’d lost his 23-year-old daughter.
JIM SWIRE, M.D., Lockerbie Relative: I remember the hair on the back of my neck standing up the first time somebody in the media actually said the word “murder,” these people were murdered. And I remember the impact of that word, the concept that my lovely daughter should have been murdered.
And I remember being aimlessly numb. And I really couldn’t concentrate on anything. My partners fortunately realized I couldn’t go on working at that time. So that career in medicine was cut short, and it gave more time and thinking space, if you like, to deal with the enormity of the Lockerbie disaster.
NEWSCASTER: The finger of suspicion is pointing at radical Palestinian groups—
KEN DORNSTEIN: Early theories pinned the bombing on a terror group based in Syria, and backed by Iran.
NEWSCASTER: Top of the list is Ahmed Jibril, Syrian-backed head of the radical—
KEN DORNSTEIN: But what role, if any, Iran played in the plot remained unclear, and I grew quietly obsessed with the mystery.
NEWSCASTER: Yet another week of investigation into the bombing of Pan Am 103 is nearly at an end, and it is laborious.
NEWSCASTER: The question is where and how was the bomb placed on the plane, and who did it?
WILLIAM BARR, Acting Attorney General: [November 1991] OK, are we all set? Good morning. For three years, the United States and Scotland have been conducting one of the most exhaustive and complex investigations in history.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Finally, there is a press conference. Now they’re saying, “We’ve got the results, and we’re going to tell you who we believe did it and why.”
Dr. JIM SWIRE: Why. Yes. We saw the statement being put out in America.
WILLIAM BARR: Today, we are announcing an indictment in the case.
Dr. JIM SWIRE: It’s an exciting moment because there is the assumption that we’re going to find out the truth.
WILLIAM BARR: We charge that two Libyan officials, acting as operatives of the Libyan intelligence service, along with other co-conspirators, planted and detonated the bomb that destroyed Pan Am flight 103.
NEWSCASTER: Murder warrants are tonight out for two Libyan spies. They are now formally charged with bombing Pan Am flight 103 out of the sky over Lockerbie Scotland.
KEN DORNSTEIN: There are these two men, Libyan operatives of some kind, and you hear their names for the first time, Abdel Basset al Megrahi and Lhamen Fhimah.
NEWSCASTER: Abdel Basset al Megrahi is accused of being the mastermind of the Pan Am 103 bombing.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I remember the story coming on and trying to feel something about this— “My God, it was Libya.” And I remember trying to work up a sense of the proper hatred for these two men.
Dr. JIM SWIRE: Yes. At that point, my reaction was, “Oh, thank goodness. We’re going to see two of the murderers brought to justice.”
NEWSCASTER: Fhimah allegedly brought plastic explosives from Libya to Malta, where—
KEN DORNSTEIN: Were you interested in the details? Who built the bomb, and where was it made? And how was it transported? Did those kind of details interest you?
Dr. JIM SWIRE: They certainly did. I mean, If somebody tells you something, somebody says, “Look, Megrahi did it,” my reaction to that is, “Well, prove it.”
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] The plot reportedly came down to a bomb built into a radio cassette player packed with Semtex explosive. It was the Libyans who were accused of buying the clothes in the bomb bag, and getting it all onto flight 103.
NEWSCASTER: Two Libyans are on trial at a court set up in the Netherlands. They have always insisted they are innocent.
KEN DORNSTEIN: It would take almost 10 years before the suspects were turned over and families like mine were finally able to see hear the evidence. And when it was all over, the verdict was a disappointingly mixed bag.
NEWSCASTER: A split decision. For Lhamen Khalifa Fhimah, acquittal, but Abdel Basset Ali al Megrahi found guilty as charged.
BRIAN MURTAGH, Lockerbie prosecutor (Ret.): Would I have liked to have tried the case in the United States? Sure. But I mean, I don’t know what more we could have done.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Brian Murtagh was one of the top U.S. prosecutors on the case.
BRIAN MURTAGH: I believe that the evidence was there to convict Megrahi correctly and to sustain his conviction. I wish that Fhimah had been convicted because I think the same should be said of him. But you know, the judges didn’t see it that way.
FAMILY MEMBER: After waiting 12 years, it was some level of justice. Obviously, you can never bring your kid back.
NEWSCASTER: Over and over today, the family members wanted to know, “Will the U.S. now pursue Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi?”
KEN DORNSTEIN: The theory was that Lockerbie had been revenge for the U.S. bombing of Libya back in 1986.
NEWSCASTER: —one of Moammar Qaddafi’s houses was hit and—
KEN DORNSTEIN: But Qaddafi always denied a role in Pan Am 103. His government claimed to have been pressured into paying money to families like mine and issuing a carefully worded statement. But they never took real responsibility for the bombing. And the story, to me, never truly felt finished.
BRIAN MURTAGH: You hear so often the term “closure,” but I don’t believe in closure. I don’t think there is closure, not in this case.
[Eight Years Later]
KEN DORNSTEIN: This was going to be an interview with Sam about his dinner. What else do you want to say about your life?
SAM DORNSTEIN: First, I’ll introduce everybody. This is Sophie girl, who is— she’s going to turn 3, right?
SOPHIE DORNSTEIN: Yeah!
SAM DORNSTEIN: And I’m Sam, and I’m going to turn 6 in September. And that is my dad, Ken—
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Some 20 years after the bombing, I was no longer David’s little brother.
SAM DORNSTEIN: —and he’s going to turn 40 in February.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I was married with two kids, and working on documentaries for FRONTLINE in Boston.
[on camera] That’s a great interview.
When the kids were very young, I wrote a book about David’s brief life, but I’d largely put my questions about his death out of my mind.
Then in the summer of 2009, something unexpected happened that brought it all back.
NEWSCASTER: There is a possibility tonight that the only person convicted of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, might soon go free after just 10 years in prison. Some relatives of the 270 victims are outraged at the possibility.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The one man convicted for the bombing was diagnosed with cancer and was said to have just three months to live.
NEWSCASTER: —dying of prostate cancer. Scottish officials are considering granting him what they call a compassionate release.
MAN: Clearly, he’s terribly ill, and—
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] And then Megrahi’s let go by the Scottish government. How did you feel about that?
BRIAN MURTAGH: I mean, I’ve lost cases in court, you know, jury acquittals. And that hurts. But nothing hurt as much as this.
NEWSCASTER: Abdel Basset al Megrahi on his final uneasy steps to freedom, terminally ill with prostate cancer—
KEN DORNSTEIN: I mean, I remember thinking it’s like watching a guy get away with murder in real time.
BRIAN MURTAGH: Yeah. Unlike our system— we have compassionate release, but you really have to be at death’s door. He wasn’t that sick.
NEWSCASTER: It was a decision met with outrage at the highest levels.
Pres. BARACK OBAMA: We have been in contact with the Scottish government, indicating that we objected to this and we thought it was a mistake.
NEWSCASTER: President Obama said the U.S. deeply regrets the decision and warned Libya not to give him a hero’s welcome. The Libyans weren’t listening.
NEWSCASTER: Megrahi emerged wearing a suit, the frail former inmate unrecognizable as he acknowledged the jubilant crowd.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I remember being shocked by Megrahi’s release. His conviction hadn’t been fully satisfying, but at least it was an answer. Now all that was all coming undone. My brother and the others had been killed and certainty about who did it was being wiped away.
NEWSCASTER: —believe Megrahi should go free.
NEWSCASTER: Megrahi is not expected to live long enough for his—
KEN DORNSTEIN: Megrahi’s release also gave momentum to those who believed he wasn’t guilty at all, and theories pinning Lockerbie on Iran were once again revived.
I wished I could let it go, but instead, I decided to set out on my own search for answers. I began by tracking down the FBI agent who had worked longer than anyone on the Lockerbie case, Richard Marquise.
RICHARD MARQUISE, Lockerbie Taskforce (Ret.): Good to see you, Ken.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Almost 25 years later, no one’s ever admitted playing any role in it. And in fact, Megrahi, the one man convicted— he’s let go after serving only eight years, under a cloud of suspicion and—
RICHARD MARQUISE : Nobody is paying for this. Nobody is paying judicially for blowing up Pan Am 103. That’s a great frustration.
Qaddafi was told, “If your agents are found guilty, you have to admit responsibility for the attack,” and all he would admit to was “responsibility for the actions of my agents.” I think it’s terrible that we allowed him to get away with that statement. When I spoke to the Lockerbie families, I said, “I wished we could have gotten more for you.”
Megrahi was the only person convicted because he’s the only person that the evidence led to. But if he did this, he didn’t do it by himself. Megrahi’s the tip of the iceberg.
If I was writing the novel version, we would have identified not only the people who put the bomb on the plane, but those who ordered it up the chain of command, and put them all in jail. That would have been the fantasy.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Over the years, I’ve gotten to know a lot of the investigators and prosecutors who worked on the case.
[on camera] Stuart Henderson—
[voice-over] I’ve visited their homes here and abroad and heard their stories.
BRIAN MURTAGH: We didn’t have any evidence to that.
KEN DORNSTEIN: They’re all retired now, and almost to a man, they feel unsatisfied with the way the case ended.
STUART HENDERSON, Lead Scottish Investigator (Ret.): How frustrated do you think we are to be detectives who’ve been all over the world trying to get an answer to this and can’t get access to what we want?
At no stage, did I ever say I just wanted Megrahi. I said I wanted all of them, because there was no doubt in my mind he isn’t the only one. He was the baggage man, and he got caught, and rightly so. But I would like to have seen the rest of them.
BRIAN MURTAGH, Lockerbie prosecutor (Ret.): No, the case isn’t finished because all those responsible for the crime have not been identified and prosecuted, much less convicted.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Is the U.S. government interested in them?
RICHARD MARQUISE, Lockerbie Taskforce (Ret.): Yeah, I hope so. I mean, that’s my hope, but I don’t know. I have no idea. You know, the government has moved on. The FBI has moved on. There’s other things. Lockerbie’s still an open case that somebody has assigned to him, but does it get daily attention? I don’t know the answer to that.
BRIAN MURTAGH: It’s not just another murder case. It’s 270 people, 189 of them American, all of the victims totally innocent, and it’s an attack on the United States.
I’ll go to my grave believing that Gaddafi either ordered it, or knew about it and let it happen, and it was perpetrated by a cast of characters that we may never fully identify in the Libyan Intelligence Service.
NEWSCASTER: Late this afternoon, the nose of the Pan Am jet was finally lifted from the hillside three miles from Lockerbie.
BRIAN MURTAGH: And the only way we’re ever going to find out what happened fully is somebody walks in that was involved and lays it all out for us, or there’s a regime change in Libya.
NEWSCASTER: Protests all across the Arab world, from Morocco to Iran. Governments have fallen in Tunisia and Egypt. Will Libya be next?
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] In the Summer of 2011, regime change in Libya suddenly seemed possible.
NEWSCASTER: Libya is burning, rage against the tyranny of Moammar Gaddafi is—
KEN DORNSTEIN: As the rebels gained ground, I began to wonder about making the trip to Libya myself, searching for answers to more than 20 years of questions.
[on camera] Qaddafi might be out. And maybe if he leaves, the people who bombed Uncle David’s plane will be there. And maybe if they’re not afraid of him anymore, maybe they’ll sit down with me, and— you know, and tell me the truth.
Would you do it, even if it meant leaving your kids who you love so much and your wife and your life together?
SAM DORNSTEIN: Well, to find culprit would mean— I know it even would mean a lot to me if I found someone who knew, and just having everything being clarified and knowing everything— at least knowing what happened can help. It really can help clear up your questions.
BRIAN MURTAGH: My experience in dealing with victims is they want to see those who perpetrated the crime, killing their loved one, held accountable and punished accordingly. And I think what they want to hear from the perpetrator is an admission of guilt and an expression of remorse.
So I certainly understand, as a documentarian, a journalist, that you are trying to make sense out of this unthinkable, inexplicable, and in a sense, unresolved crime.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] So you had a list of names?
RICHARD MARQUISE: Oh, yeah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I mean, how many names would have been on the list?
RICHARD MARQUISE: Probably 10. Stuart Henderson and I, we both left lists with our successors to say, “If you get to Libya, this is what you ought to do. This is who you ought to go after, who you should talk to.”
STUART HENDERSON: Every one of these, at some stage, played a part in it. And the list read quite clearly. There was Abdullah Senussi, Ezzedine Hinshiri, who did the ordering of explosive device timers, Said Mohammed Rashid, Badri Hassan. We’ve got Abdullah Zadma, Nassr Ashur, an expert in making sure that bombs go off, Mohamed Ibrahim Bishari, and a surprise expert in charge, explosives in particular, a surprise mechanic, you could say, that started the ball rolling. He holds the key to it all.
These are the people that must be found and these are the people who are responsible. But I never, ever got access to them long enough to interview any of them.
We got part of the conspiracy, but only a small part. You’ll only get the answer to your final story with the rest of them. I think, until none of them can be found, at all, then you can’t stop.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] The fighting in Libya had closed down the main airport, so I had to find my own way in. I flew first into neighboring Tunisia, then hired a driver to take me through the night toward Libya’s western border.
LIBYAN DRIVER: This is the Tunisian border.
BORDER GUARD: [subtitles] Is he a journalist?
DRIVER: [subtitles] Yes, he’s a journalist.
[subtitles] This is filled out wrong. [in English] Your first name is?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Ken.
DRIVER: No, no, surname?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Want me to write it in?
BORDER GUARD: [subtitles] You’re not allowed to film here.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Oh, put this away?
[on camera] It was late in the Summer of 2011, as the Libyan revolution reached its climax, when I finally arrived in the capital, Tripoli.
NEWSCASTER: Let’s get into it, starting with the situation in Libya. It has taken a new turn. They still have no idea where Moammar Qaddafi is. He’s on the run tonight.
NEWSCASTER: After 42 years, Libya’s unpredictable Moammar Qaddafi is on the ropes and missing.
NEWSCASTER: Today, on the streets of Tripoli, the smell of victory, tempered by fear and uncertainty.
NEWSCASTER: Rebel forces are in control of almost all of Libya and most of the capital after a lightning advance this weekend that caught Qaddafi’s forces by surprise. But it’s now clear it is not over yet. There is still fierce fighting in many neighborhoods as forces loyal to Qaddafi make one final stand.
KEN DORNSTEIN: After so many years of imagining this place, it was hard to believe I was actually here, at Qaddafi’s old home.
Now his compound had become a makeshift fairground, complete with lots of celebratory gunfire, souvenirs and a general carnival atmosphere.
By the time I arrived, the NATO bombing campaign had taken out many of Qaddafi’s old command and control centers, and rumors were flying that important intelligence material might have been left behind here, in Qaddafi’s vast network of fortified bunkers.
[on camera] And what’s this map?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY, Journalist: Libya.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Suliman Ali Zway joined up with the revolution from its start in Benghazi, where he was born. When I first met him, he was leading me and some other journalists on a tour of an old underground intelligence facility.
[on camera] This is all sealed up.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: When Tripoli fell, there were so many places that were left unguarded.
Did you find Qaddafi?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Come out, come out, wherever you are.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: And we were just going through those places to show a Western journalist how an authoritarian regime was operating, and how— you know, what kind of files they kept.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Jesus, look at this room!
[voice-over] Suliman seemed to share a deep interest in the secrets of the old regime.
[on camera] So what do we think these tapes are?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: A lot of them is, you know, gathered intelligence, tapped phone calls.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] For Suliman, the search for answers was personal, as well.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: One of the reasons I went to Tripoli is to find out what happened to my uncle. He was taken in ‘89. He was killed in the Abu Salim massacre, 1,200 who were killed. We didn’t find out until 2003. Even when they said that he died, there was no body. They didn’t give a body, so—
All of those years of uncertainty, and there’s no closure. A very big segment of Libyan society would have a story that is similar to this, you know, people who wanted answers and tried to find some old names, you know, to solve a mystery.
But the Lockerbie thing, it’s so long ago. Everybody who might have had, you know, remotely any idea what happened in Lockerbie would either be dead or out of the country, or you know, on the run with Qaddafi somewhere. So I had very little hopes to finding something substantial.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Suliman was understandably skeptical, but he was willing to help. We rented an apartment on the outskirts of Tripoli, and the next day, we began to search for the men on my list.
[on camera] These are some houses! Look at these.
[voice-over] A few of the men I was looking for lived in this exclusive section of Tripoli.
[on camera] What do people think of this neighborhood?
MOHAMMED HAMMOUDA: It’s mostly known as the Qaddafi’s family and relatives’ houses.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Qaddafi himself used to live in this neighborhood. Also, there’s Abdullah Senussi, Said Rashid’s family, you know, the close circle of Qaddafi.
KEN DORNSTEIN: It’s good to be a friend of Moammar’s.
[voice-over] Our first stop was the home of the most well-known man on my list, Abdullah Senussi.
[on camera] How many people lived here?
SENUSSI NEIGHBOR: I don’t know. He had a bunch of kids, you know?
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Abdullah Senussi was the head of Libyan intelligence at the time of Lockerbie and was actually convicted for the downing of another passenger plane that was bombed not long after flight 103.
By the time of the revolution, Senussi had become the second most powerful man in the country, which is likely why NATO put a missile through the center of his house, an attack that Senussi somehow survived.
[on camera] Said Rashid is this, or that, or the— it looks like this— this is all one thing, this style of gate?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: This is his house.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Just around the block, I went looking for another of the men on my list, Said Rashid. The U.S. government had said that Said Rashid was one of the masterminds of Lockerbie, and many other attacks against the West. He was known to Libyans as a ruthless Qaddafi enforcer.
[on camera] All this damage is from looting, or from NATO?
SAID RASHID NEPHEW: This is all from the thieves.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Rashid’s family abandoned this house just a few weeks before I arrived. The place was ransacked for money and valuables. But I had come looking for evidence of Rashid’s involvement in Lockerbie.
[on camera] So this was Said Rashid’s office?
[voice-over] In Rashid’s desk, I found an Arabic translation of the indictment of the Libyans for Pan Am 103, complete with Rashid’s handwritten notes. But there was no smoking gun.
[on camera] Who’s that? In the white—
CREW MEMBER: Is that Said Rashid?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Said Rashid. Yes, that one.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] We managed to find someone still working at Libyan state television, and he cued up the video of Megrahi’s release from a Scottish prison. I was told that several key suspects in the Lockerbie plot had showed up to welcome him home.
The first man to greet Megrahi was none other than Said Rashid, the alleged mastermind of the plot.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: He said he was one of the five fingers of Qaddafi’s hand, so he must be there.
KEN DORNSTEIN: But even more senior than Rashid was the man who Megrahi was about to greet in the front seat of this SUV.
[on camera] Who’s this?
LIBYAN MAN: Abdullah Senussi.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I began to feel that Megrahi’s return had became a kind of reunion for the suspected Lockerbie plotters. It also seemed to be a belated victory celebration.
The night’s featured speaker was Said Rashid.
SAID RASHID: [subtitles] We are in this steadfast house where the leader has greeted us.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Listening to Rashid, I tried to understand the mind of a Qaddafi loyalist who may have plotted to down my brother’s plane.
SAID RASHID: [subtitles] We are indebted to you, Leader, not only for standing with us, but for every stance you took for the homeland. We fight 24 hours, our guns in our hands. And whenever you call us, we are knights in this battle.
KEN DORNSTEIN: On this night, Qaddafi couldn’t have seemed more pleased with Rashid. But I was told things didn’t end well for him. In the chaotic early moments of the revolution, Qaddafi grew paranoid and came to question the loyalty of the ultimate loyalist. Rashid was shot as a traitor.
ABDO AL KANUNI: Said Rashid, he died in the beginning of the crisis. Somebody shot him, wrongly, I think. That’s what I heard. To be frank, Ken, 99 percent of them are gone.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Gone since the last six months, you mean, or gone in the last few weeks?
ABDO AL KANUNI: Gone with— yeah, I think a few months ago.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] It wasn’t easy to find anyone left who knew the men on my list personally. But then I met Abdo al Kanuni. His family business was explosives, and it brought him in contact with many in military and intelligence circles.
ABDO AL KANUNI: I’ve known them all. I’d say 90 percent, 99 percent of these people, I’ve had a relation with them. All ministers. They’re all ministers, the minister of interior, the minister of transportation. That means you are able to do anything you are asked for. No one can run any kind of ministry unless he’s trusted by the government and by the Leader.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] And how do you become trusted by the Leader?
ABDO AL KANUNI: You have to kill to be loved.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Back in the 1970s, Kanuni said, he got involved with a controversial CIA contractor named Ed Wilson, who used Kanuni’s family business to help smuggle massive amounts of plastic explosives into Libya. It was at this time that he came to have contact with many of the men on my list.
ABDO AL KANUNI: Dealing with the government, and with the military, and the security, that’s my job. They are consulting me in the technical things.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Yeah.
ABDO AL KANUNI: So I gave them my advice. But other things that I don’t want— I myself, I don’t want to be involved in it. I have nothing to do with all these people myself.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Kanuni said very few people might ever have known the truth about Lockerbie, and those who remained alive would likely never speak.
And then there were the men I still hadn’t identified. Top on my list was this man in the back seat of the car that picked up Megrahi. Only the key suspects in the plot seemed to be part of the welcome committee. But who was he?
[on camera] This is someone who might be known to somebody who knew these foreign operations in the 1980s.
ABDO AL KANUNI: Abu Agela?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Abu Agela? What kind of guy is he?
ABDO AL KANUNI: He’s an expert, a very active man.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Very active in the sort of things I’m talking about?
ABDO AL KANUNI: Yeah. Abu Agela— I know him, but I haven’t seen him for more than 15 years, I think. But you have to be careful trying to find somebody who knows Abu Agela. Some of them are afraid to be shown up, even in the streets. They’re not around. They’re scared. But I can get some information from a man who knows him well. I think I will— see to it, your demand.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Demand? It’s a request, and very humbly. You’re all we’ve got. And the fact that you might be able to help would be very helpful to us.
ABDO AL KANUNI: I’ll do my best, Ken.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Thank you. I know you will.
ABDO AL KANUNI: I promise I’ll do my best.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] In those early weeks in Libya, I didn’t think about the danger or the difficulty of what I was doing. I thought only of finding the men on my list and getting the answers that I’d come for.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: [knocking on door] Salaam Aleikum. Salaam Aleikum!
KEN DORNSTEIN: We get something, and then we hit a wall. We get so excited and so close to something, and then it’s just another block in the road.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: When he saw the camera, he was, like, “What? What is he shooting?” And I told him we were journalists, and he said, you know, “Is this an investigation? You should be leaving,” blah blah, blah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] We should be leaving?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Yeah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Don’t ask too many questions.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: We should go. We should not abuse this.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Let’s go. Yeah.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: To be honest, people were, like, “What is this guy? What is he doing? What’s the real story? OK, yeah, yeah, journalist. He wants to do a film. That’s not the case.” You know, there’s— I’m sure that there’s a lot of people who doubted that. It all depends on the way how you approach them about talking.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I don’t think they’re going to talk because they want to help a Western journalist. I think they’ll talk if they’re afraid that they don’t have any other options.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: They’re kind of trapped now, you know. The regime that was protecting them no longer exists and—
MOHAMMED HAMMOUDA: Yeah, but I mean, you can’t threaten someone to expose himself because either way, he will be— just feel he’s— you know, he’s threatened, you know?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: It’s not about threatening them. It’s about saying that, you know— you know, “The game is already over. Everybody knows about this, and it’s better to come forward.”
KEN DORNSTEIN: Somehow, we have to seem like the good option.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Yeah. “You have no options with the new regime. They want to clear Libya’s image with the West, you know, the newly befriended West. And you’re worth nothing to the new regime, so you better sing.”
KEN DORNSTEIN: It’s worth a try. Many a man’s been afraid of me in the past, so— [laughter]
MOHAMMED HAMMOUDA: Guilty people?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Oh, yeah. They see this face, and many former terrorists, they crumble. They crack immediately. [laughter]
[voice-over] I’d already been away from my family for weeks, but I didn’t have much to show for it. The men I was looking for had either fled the capital or were laying low in places where I would never be able to find them.
NEWSCASTER: This is all that remains of Colonel Qaddafi’s convoy as he tried to escape.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And then there was Qaddafi himself.
NEWSCASTER: —Predator drone using Hellfire missiles—
KEN DORNSTEIN: For weeks, Qaddafi had holed up in his home town of Sirte, and when he tried to slip out one morning, a NATO air strike hit his convoy point blank.
NEWSCASTER: Somehow, though, Colonel Qaddafi himself escaped from all this.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Qaddafi and a few of his security detail took cover in this drainage pipe.
NEWSCASTER: The rebels dragged Moammar Qaddafi, once the most powerful man in Libya, out of a drainage ditch, and that’s when the mayhem started. Qaddafi’s last moments were recorded. His last words reportedly were, “Don’t kill me. Don’t kill my sons.”
KEN DORNSTEIN: When this video hit the news, reporters began to call me and other Lockerbie relatives. They wanted to know what we felt. Were we satisfied?
I watched Qaddafi’s death over and over, trying to feel some bloodlust for the man who may have given the order to blow up flight 103. But I only managed to feel a strange empathy for this beaten man pleading for his life.
NEWSCASTER: Rebels hoisted Qaddafi’s body onto a truck so the crowds could see their prize.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Meanwhile, I heard a rumor that one of the remaining men on my list had been in the convoy with Qaddafi that morning. We found a video of the survivors, who’d been taken prisoner by a vengeful rebel militia.
REBEL FIGHTER: [subtitles] Who has the big guns now, huh? Shame on you! You son of a bitch, Qaddafa! I spit on you!
KEN DORNSTEIN: Most were low-level loyalists and tribesman brought in to fight Qaddafi’s last stand.
MAN: Come this way. They’re all here.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The prisoners were marched into a field, shot- execution-style and left to rot in the desert sun. The most high-profile among them was a man I’d been looking for, a loyalist named Ezzedine Hinshiri who stuck with Qaddafi until the bitter end.
[on camera] This looks like him, doesn’t it?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Yeah, it looks like it.
1st MAN: [subtitles] You should cover his face. This one’s Ezzedine Hinshiri.
2nd MAN: [subtitles] How do you know it’s Ezzedine?
1st MAN: [subtitles] I know him.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I knew little of Ezzedine Hinshiri’s role in Lockerbie, except that he’d made the initial order of the timers said to have blown up flight 103. Hinshiri had been close friends with Said Rashid. Both were engineers, both had been involved with the timers, and now both were dead.
By my count, there were now only four men left on my list. One of them, I was told, had died of a heart attack just a few months earlier. He wasn’t like the others, not a regular intelligence officer or a member of Qaddafi’s inner circle, but an airline executive who may have been co-opted to take part in the plot. His name was Badri Hassan.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: Badri, believe you me, is a scapegoat. I’m sure he never knew what was going on until after it was too late, or after it happened.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Souad Hassan was Badri’s wife. Her brother Yaseen worked with Badri part-time, and for years listened to his sister’s questions about Lockerbie.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: By nature, Souad is very inquisitive. She always wants answers to certain things that happen. And there are certain questions that Badri would not— would not have— he would not answer to.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Souad said her suspicions about Badri began almost immediately after the bombing.
SOUAD HASSAN: [subtitles] Badri got into this weird mood. He wouldn’t speak.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] A short time, you mean, after the— Lockerbie?
SOUAD HASSAN: [subtitles] I think immediately after that.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: Soon afterwards.
SOUAD HASSAN: [subtitles] He would swear by God, by his own children, that he didn’t know about it. I would ask him to swear by our marriage that he wasn’t involved in this. But I’m absolutely sure of it.
YASEEN AL KANUNI You’re sure of what? That he was involved?
SOUAD HASSAN: Uh-huh.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Souad, do you know why I’m so interested in all of this?
SOUAD HASSAN: Why?
KEN DORNSTEIN: I had an older brother. He was on the plane that went down over Lockerbie.
SOUAD HASSAN: Really?
YASEEN AL KANUNI: Very sorry to hear that.
SOUAD HASSAN: [subtitles] I can’t believe Badri and this Lockerbie situation.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: [subtitles] Yeah, his brother was on the plane.
SOUAD HASSAN: [subtitles] I almost can’t remember my life before this Lockerbie happened. God only knows.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: Many, many innocent people died. Many innocent people are still suffering from this.
SOUAD HASSAN: Especially me. I am very suffering about that trip, about the people who were killed in that trip.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: Yeah.
SOUAD HASSAN: [subtitles] May God destroy your house, Moammar Qaddafi. You led Libya astray.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: Badri died with a lot of secrets. Ezzedine, Said Rashid, or Abdullah Senussi— they were always there at the front lines. They were always there, willing to do the wicked stuff for Qaddafi.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And Abel Basset— what was Badri’s relationship with Megrahi?
SOUAD HASSAN: They were very close friends. He was with Badri most of time.
KEN DORNSTEIN: When was this?
YASEEN AL KANUNI: They met in ‘87.
SOUAD HASSAN: ‘87, the first meeting in Zurich.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Zurich, Switzerland. Souad told me that Badri and Megrahi rented an office here for more than a year before Lockerbie. It turned out they were right down the hall from the Swiss company, MEBO, that made the timer said to have blown up flight 103.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: It’s thought that this device was bought from MEBO in Zurich. Badri was the connection between this MEBO company and the Libyan intelligence.
SOUAD HASSAN: Yeah.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: Badri tried to prove that they didn’t know what the device was going to be used for.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Do you think Abdel Basset knew what the device was going to be used for?
SOUAD HASSAN: I think Abdel Basset, he knows everything.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Did Badri keep documents? I know he was secretive.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: Let’s go upstairs and just have a look.
SOUAD HASSAN: This is the last documents he prepared before he died, in these two boxes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Is it locked?
SOUAD HASSAN: Yeah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: It’s locked. And we don’t have a key.
SOUAD HASSAN: No.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I later learned that Souad’s oldest son held the key and didn’t think it was safe to potentially expose any of Badri’s secrets.
[on camera] Did he ever tell you anything about these papers, that these were papers that were to be opened if something happened to him or—
SOUAD HASSAN: No, he didn’t tell me nothing.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: No, no, he never does.
SOUAD HASSAN: Nothing.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: Very secretive man.
SOUAD HASSAN: Yes.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: The truth has to come out about Pan Am 103, the connection of Switzerland, the connection of Megrahi, the connection of Zurich. You would get a lot of information out of a certain Swiss person— Mr. Bollier?
SOUAD HASSAN: Bollier, yes.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: He’s located in Zurich.
SOUAD HASSAN: Zurich.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: The MEBO company. Bollier met with Badri many times both in Zurich and in Libya, I think. A couple of times, 3 or 4 times, I’ve seen him in Libya—
SOUAD HASSAN: Yes.
YASEEN AL KANUNI: —prior to the Lockerbie incident. But I’m sure— I’m definitely positive that MEBO knows of Badri’s secrets.
STUART HENDERSON, Lead Scottish Investigator (Ret.): He was deeply involved with the Libyans. This is Bollier. Very, very close. The Libyans were operational in Zurich and were getting supplied with timing devices for bombs by Bollier.
RICHARD MARQUISE, Lockerbie Taskforce (Ret.): The Scots and the U.S. government had a difference of opinion about Bollier. Stuart Henderson will tell you we looked at Bollier 100 percent as a suspect. But I treated him like that. I treated him like a suspect.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [setting up camera] Hold on. We’ll get reset. I want everyone to get back in there—
RICHARD MARQUISE: But I also thought, this guy’s a witness. We want to treat him like a witness because we wanted to know, what’s his answer going to be, Do you know who blew up Pan Am 103?
KEN DORNSTEIN: You ready for take-off?
CAMERA CREW MEMBER: Rolling.
MY BROTHER'S BOMBER (EPISODE TWO)
CO-PRODUCED & EDITED BY
WRITTEN, PRODUCED & DIRECTED BY
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I’ve often tried to imagine what really happened to Flight 103 on the night of the bombing. The U.S. government wanted to know, as well, so in the 1990s, they put a Lockerbie-style bomb on board this wide-body jet, then watched what happened.
It took just one pound of Semtex plastic explosive to reduce one of the world’s most sophisticated passenger jets to hundreds of thousands of pieces.
And somewhere in all of this, I can’t help but imagine, were the 259 people on board, like my brother.
TIM BLAKE NELSON, David’s Friend: For years, I kept thinking I was seeing him on the street in New York. I just didn’t believe he was dead. And I still sometimes think I’m going to see David. I have not, still to this day, completely accepted that the guy is gone. Imagining him dead, because he was so very alive, is pretty impossible.
KEN DORNSTEIN: David and the other passengers on Flight 103 fell six miles to the ground, landing in and around the town of Lockerbie.
NEWSCASTER: In the ruins of their homes, they search for the bodies of the aircraft’s passengers.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Many bodies had to be taken down from rooftops. Some, like my brother, wouldn’t be found for days.
NEWSCASTER: Donna the border collie knows every inch and every boulder of the crash site. She has detected human remains as deep as 4-foot-6 under the rubble.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Meanwhile, as the search for victims continued, the police focused hard on finding evidence of who did it.
NEWSCASTER: The investigation has turned into a major military-style operation, with troops, police and volunteers scouring far more territory than anybody thought would be necessary only a day ago.
STUART HENDERSON, Lead Scottish Investigator (Ret.): People tend to forget that we actually investigated 845 square miles of that part of Scotland.
NEWSCASTER: All day, hundreds of police and soldiers have been searching the hills outside the town.
STUART HENDERSON: Every single field, river was searched, and nobody was allowed to walk across that field unless he was in a line. And as soon as they saw something, the whole line stopped. Now, you can imagine how long that took.
NEWSCASTER: After months of searching through the debris, the Lockerbie investigators had the breakthrough they’d been hoping for. They found a small fragment of the circuit board from the electronic timer that had triggered the explosion aboard Pan Am 103.
STUART HENDERSON: That fragment was recovered by our lads, up a tree, 25 miles away from Lockerbie. It was inside a shirt collar. It was an amazing piece of evidence, that you should recover something as small as that.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The original investigation came down, in many ways, to this one small piece of physical evidence, that fragment of circuit board found outside Lockerbie that was matched to the timer that blew up the bomb. It was said to have been made by a small company in Switzerland run by a man named Edwin Bollier.
But who was he? And how, exactly, was Bollier related to the men I’d been tracking in Libya with my friend, Suliman?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY, Journalist: It took a while before we met again. And when you bring me up to speed about this whole thing, there’s a lot more that you’ve learned since we’ve last talked.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Right. So remember we met with Souad?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Yeah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And she was, you know, coming to grips with the fact that her husband might have been involved in the bombing. And her brother, you know, said, you know, “The truth must come out.”
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Yeah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: But then he said at the end, he said, “You end you need to go to Zurich,” Switzerland, and said, “There’s a man there, and his name is Bollier. “ So I decided to make contact with Bollier. He was still in the same office in Zurich.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Same place?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Yeah, same place, same place where the timer had been made that they say had blown up Flight 103.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Wow.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Yeah.
[voice-over] It had been just over a year since I first set off to Libya in search of answers. But now I was convinced that a key piece of the story lay here in Zurich, where investigators traced the custom-built timer that is so critical to the Lockerbie plot.
At some point, this timer was fit into the Lockerbie bomb so it would blow up, at least in theory, exactly when the terrorists desired.
NEWSCASTER: Edwin Bollier is said to have supplied the timer which set off the Lockerbie explosion.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Investigators first came here to question Edwin Bollier about his timers back in late 1990. They showed him a photograph of the fragment they’d found near Lockerbie, and Bollier identified it as a piece a timer that he’d sold to the Libyan military a few years earlier.
Over the years, however, he’s changed his story. He now maintains that the timer they say blew up Flight 103 was not actually one of those he sold to Libya.
[on camera] Everything you know about Bollier— how would you characterize his involvement?
STUART HENDERSON: He was deeply involved with the Libyans, very, very close. The Libyans were operational in Zurich and were getting supplied with timing devices by Mr. Bollier. And he never told the truth. And he used a lot of angles to sidestep it, as well.
ROBERT FANNING, FBI, Switzerland (1987-93): The Scottish officials were, in fact, considering him as someone who could be possibly charged. It’s baffled me for, you know, some 20-some years now what he was really— what did he really know?
BRIAN MURTAGH, Lockerbie Prosecutor (Ret.): If you came right down to it, you know, could we prove that, you know, he was in Tripoli, and they said, you know, “Hey, Edwin, we— you know, we want to blow up an airplane and we want to fit this timer into this radio and make sure we don’t blow ourselves up in the process of doing it. Can you help us?” We don’t have a witness that could say that.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I told Edwin Bollier that my brother was on Flight 103 and that I was searching for the truth. And after an initial meeting, Bollier agreed to film with me.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Hello. How are you?
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] How are you?
[voice-over] He’d told so many different versions of his story over the years, I wanted to know what he’d say face to face.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Step in.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] People say, “You’re going to speak with Edwin Bollier? Yeah, he’s not trustworthy.”
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Or he’s hiding something.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: He was involved. He was helping the Libyans.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: What’s your response to them?
EDWIN BOLLIER: I helped the Libyans. And still I help their people. I’m neutral. Switzerland is neutral, and I’m neutral in this thing. And we will find out the truth. And the truth is clear.
I show you.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Bollier insists that he’s simply a contractor who sold electronics to the Libyan military, but I wanted to walk through the story with him step by step.
EDWIN BOLLIER: This was the office. Badri rent this office from MEBO, huh? This office goes like this size.
KEN DORNSTEIN: We began with the fact that the Libyan businessman, Badri Hassan, had rented office space from Bollier the year before the bombing.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Then Abdel Basset came here.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Badri’s partner in the Zurich office was Abdel Basset al Megrahi, the man who would later be convicted for the Lockerbie bombing.
[on camera] Abdel Basset al Megrahi— what was he like as a person? What was his character? Was he—
EDWIN BOLLIER: Tip-top, clear, clear man, normal, good man, yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Did you believe that he was involved in the bombing of Flight 103?
EDWIN BOLLIER: No, no, no, no, no, no.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Bollier says Badri and Megrahi were rarely in the Zurich office. But then, just a few weeks before the bombing, Badri came to Bollier with a rush order for timers.
EDWIN BOLLIER: [subtitles] This is one of the timers that we manufactured here.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The original order for these timers came three years earlier, Bollier explained.
EDWIN BOLLIER: And the Libyan military in this time have asked us to for make a lot of timers, not only these 20, a lot—
KEN DORNSTEIN: Bollier hoped for a contract to make more than a thousand of these timers. And he said he delivered 20 prototypes to the Libyan military.
EDWIN BOLLIER: There was Mr. Ezzedine and Mr. Rashid—
KEN DORNSTEIN: But the two men who originally ordered these timers — Ezzedine Hinshiri and Said Rashid — were not regular military officers. They were Qaddafi inner circle members and intelligence officials.
And it was Badri Hassan, a civilian with ties to the inner circle, who would come to Bollier about the timers just before Lockerbie. Bollier insists that he had no idea the reason behind Badri’s rush order.
[on camera] When Badri ordered these timers, he wanted them right away.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes. Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Did he say why it was such a rush all of a sudden? Because the original order was three years earlier.
EDWIN BOLLIER: I don’t know. He told me they need this sofort—
KEN DORNSTEIN: Immediately.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Immediately.
KEN DORNSTEIN: So you’re saying they put an order in 1985. It’s supposed to be for 1,500. You never hear about it. You’re always checking, “What about the order? What about the order?”
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes, curious. Yes, curious.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And then all of a sudden—
EDWIN BOLLIER: It’s curious.
KEN DORNSTEIN: —three years later—
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes, curious. Curious.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I guess what I wanted to know, because you’ve had a lot of business with the Libyans, anything about the way they ordered these timers that made you think that they were using them for— for bombs—
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yeah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: —for terrorism?
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yeah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Was there anything that seemed unusual?
EDWIN BOLLIER: I have not heard this, that they need this for such a thing.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Bollier says he was out of stock of the MST-13 timers that the Libyans had rush-ordered, so he delivered some knock-off timers, which they rejected. In the end, though, it didn’t matter. The Lockerbie judges concluded that one of the original timers supplied by Bollier to the Libyans years earlier had been used to blow up Flight 103.
STUART HENDERSON, Lead Scottish Investigator (Ret.): Clearly, he was making and developing timing devices for bombs. Undoubtedly, Bollier didn’t care what they were used for as long as he could get the money. He didn’t have any conscience whatsoever.
ROBERT FANNING, FBI, Switzerland (1987-93): He’s tied to it by providing the timers. And I think, you know, the question is, tied to it in such a way that he would become criminally culpable in it? And there, I think you have to go on the assumption that that might be the case, and you’re going to look for any evidence that that might be the case. But I don’t think any real evidence that it was ever— that that was case ever really turned up.
RICHARD MARQUISE, FBI, Lockerbie Task Force (Ret.): The Scots and the U.S. government had a difference of opinion about Bollier. The Scots, Stuart Henderson will tell you— we looked at Bollier 100 percent as a suspect. I considered him a possible suspect. But I thought he was probably— I just could not envision someone in the West that’s a businessman intentionally blowing up a plane.
Now, accidentally, giving the things to the Libyans or whomever at that time, to do this, that’s possible. But I could not envision somebody from the West being in cahoots with the Libyans or anybody else to blow up a plane. I found that hard to believe.
KEN DORNSTEIN: At the time the FBI first encountered Edwin Bollier, they didn’t fully understand his long relationship with the Libyans. It all began in the mid-1970s, when Bollier said he started supplying the Libyans with broadcasting equipment, police radios, fax machines.
But by the early 1980s, the CIA began to suspect that he was supplying the Libyans with much more. The details come from this once-classified CIA technical report. It explains that in 1984, four years before Lockerbie, the CIA uncovered briefcase bombs in the hands of Libyan operatives in North Africa. Semtex explosive inside the suitcase was detonated with a custom-made firing device using Motorola pagers, and these pagers were ultimately traced back to MEBO and Edwin Bollier.
[on camera] There’s a whole CIA report on these devices. They find a briefcase and Semtex and— so they’re analyzing this whole thing—
ROBERT FANNING, FBI, Switzerland (1987-93): This was in ‘84.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Right. And if you had known this guy seems to be supplying the Libyans with devices to do bad things, I mean, would that have colored your dealings with him at all?
ROBERT FANNING: Yeah, it would have certainly have given me a little bit different look at who this guy is and what he might be up to.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Well, actually, so this report makes clear that the CIA, I think through the Swiss police, told him knock it off about the pagers back in 1984.
ROBERT FANNING: Yeah, it says he was contacted by the Swiss police about those pagers.
KEN DORNSTEIN: So he does seem to have an awareness at some point that the stuff he’s making is being used for terrorism and he knows—
ROBERT FANNING: Oh, yeah. I think anybody who deals with the Libyans in electronic weapons and things knows that they’re probably being used at some point in time, in some way, for terrorism.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Right.
ROBERT FANNING: But did he give them these timers and other equipment with the intent to blow up airplanes? Proving that’s pretty damn hard to do.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] So just what did Edwin Bollier know about the timing devices he was supplying to the Qaddafi regime? Not long after Bollier first delivered these timers to the Libyans, police seized one of them among a cache of weapons in the West Africa nation of Togo.
Then just 10 months before Lockerbie, the CIA learned about another of Bollier’s timers. It was found in the hands of Libyan operatives attempting to bomb targets in Senegal.
The CIA had written detailed reports on the Togo and Senegal timers, linking them both back to Edwin Bollier. But all of this took on new significance in June of 1990, when Lockerbie investigators came to them with the circuit board fragment they’d found at the crash site.
BRIAN MURTAGH, Lockerbie Prosecutor (Ret.): The CIA produces photographs of what we call the Senegal timer after two Libyan intelligence operatives traveling with pistols with silencers, Semtex, blasting caps and this timer were arrested by the Senegalese government.
And it was sort of like, if we can establish that MEBO made the Senegal device, they probably made the Togo timer, as well. So they take the thing apart, and on one of the circuit boards within the timer they find something that’s scratched out that was determined to say M-E-B-O.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I mean, did you used to write MEBO on the circuit boards?
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes. All the PC boards have MEBO, MEBO. Why this is scratched here, I don’t know.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Well, they say because—
EDWIN BOLLIER: But you can read MEBO. It’s clear.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Right.
EDWIN BOLLIER: MEBO.
KEN DORNSTEIN: But I guess what they would say is that if the Libyans were using your timers for terrorism, they wanted to scratch it out so no one would figure it out.
EDWIN BOLLIER: I don’t know, that they scratched this. This is curious.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I mean, just your relationship with Libya— you know, you gave them radio equipment. You know, you had a long relationship with them, and then, suddenly, you find that your timers are showing up in the hands of, you know, Libyan agents in Togo or Senegal. And they’re using your timer for terrorist purposes. I mean, how did you feel about that?
EDWIN BOLLIER: Oh, it was not— the feeling was not good. And so it’s clear that we stop everything immediately with such things, with timers and commando cases. We have stopped everything. But I told also on the first—
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] It wasn’t clear to me when Bollier says he stopped supplying electronics to Libya, or why. And he still maintains that he was only made aware of the Togo and Senegal operations much later.
But at the Lockerbie trial, it emerged that Bollier was actually in Tripoli during the week before the Senegal operation. When asked about the purpose of this visit and whether it had anything to do with his timers, Bollier replied that he couldn’t remember.
Bollier did remember another trip to Libya that year. He told the FBI that he was in Tripoli that December, just before what turned out to be a major operation— Lockerbie.
He said he ended up at Abdel Basset al Megrahi’s office just two nights before the bombing. It was here, he said, that he witnessed a meeting.
EDWIN BOLLIER: I’ll show you.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Bollier still recalled that night, and even drew me the layout of Megrahi’s office.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Here— I think here was the room of Abdel Basset, with stores, and they have a meeting here.
KEN DORNSTEIN: So what was this meeting at the office of the man later convicted for the bombing?
[on camera] This scene here that you just sketched, with the meeting and waiting for Megrahi on that evening so close to Lockerbie—
EDWIN BOLLIER: All this, yeah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The prosecution at the trial, they made this sound like the Libyans were planning Lockerbie in this room here right across from you that night.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes. Yes. They say this, yes. They say this.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Do you think that’s what was going on in there?
EDWIN BOLLIER: No, no. No, no. I see— today, I see complete another thing.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] The only problem with Bollier’s current denial is that it once again contradicts what he said years ago when he initially spoke with investigators.
At that time, he made clear that this meeting before Lockerbie involved thugs and some high-ranking Qaddafi officials. And when asked about the purpose of the meeting, Bollier told the FBI that this meeting could have been part of the preparations for the bombing of Flight 103.
[on camera] To try to sort out the truth from lie with Edwin Bollier— how do you approach that?
BRIAN MURTAGH: With a large bottle of aspirin. You cannot reconcile all of his statements. He was telling the truth initially, but he’s lying now.
I don’t know what goes on in his mind. I mean, part of me says, at a minimum, he recognized that he facilitated this unspeakable act, if by no other means than supplying this timer. Post-bombing, you wonder whether he says to himself, “My God, I am at least morally responsible for this horrible crime.” But then I think Bollier’s, you know, self-preservation thing kicks in, and he can’t accept that responsibility.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Over and over, I would ask former Lockerbie officials about Bollier. He was a suspicious character, for sure, they’d say, but there was no proof he knew the true purpose of his timers, and no witnesses against him.
Inevitably, the discussion would land at one more unusual piece of the Bollier story, a letter that Bollier secretly passed to the CIA just a few weeks after the bombing.
In the letter, Bollier pretended to be a Libyan with information about Lockerbie. This was unusual for many reasons, not least because almost no one close to the investigation suspected Libya for the bombing at the time Bollier typed this.
RICHARD MARQUISE, FBI, Lockerbie Task Force (Ret.): In January of 1989, some unknown businessman from Europe came to the U.S. embassy in Vienna, and he left a letter for the ambassador. In the letter, he blames Libyan officials for carrying out this attack. Big shock to us. He told us something we didn’t know. Six billion people in the world, and all of a sudden, he’s identifying himself as the guy that— he says, “I think the Libyans did this” way back in 1989.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The FBI had actually ignored the letter for a year-and-a-half. Then once the timer fragment led them to MEBO, it was Bollier himself who told them that he’d written it.
ROBERT FANNING: When he started telling me all this, I was stunned. I mean, this is totally out of the blue.
RICHARD MARQUISE: The hair on the back of my head was starting to curl up, and I started to get cold chills thinking, “Is Bollier confessing to being involved in the Lockerbie bombing?”
KEN DORNSTEIN: Bollier wasn’t confessing at all, and he now claims he was forced to write the letter by a mystery man from a foreign intelligence service. But back in 1990, he told the Swiss police that he wrote the letter to try to put investigators, who were then focused on Iran, onto the track of the Libyans.
And he continued this focus on the Libyans when he was interviewed for a week at FBI headquarters.
ROBERT FANNING: I think Bollier was, in fact, convinced that it was the Libyans who were involved in Pan Am 103 and that he was trying to get everybody focused on that.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The FBI began grooming Bollier to be a witness against the Libyans, and Bollier was looking to make a deal.
ROBERT FANNING: He also indicated his desire to establish some kind of a business relationship with the FBI. If he could sell the FBI electronic equipment, fine. If he could work for the FBI as an undercover agent with his Libyan pals, fine, he’d do that.
And I think if the Libyans made him an offer to work undercover for them against the Americans and the Brits, fine, he’d do that, as well. The point being, I think he was interested in making money for himself, is what it was.
And so I think he came back from the FBI disappointed, and it was really shortly thereafter that that he started changing sides.
NEWSCASTER: Edwin Bollier, MEBO’s owner, was a slippery and unconvincing witness.
KEN DORNSTEIN: By the time Bollier testified at the trial of the Libyans, he attempted to discredit much of the prosecution case. He claimed the timer fragment he’d admitted was his back in 1990, the key piece of physical evidence linking the bomb to Libya, was essentially a fake, planted by unnamed conspirators to frame him and the Libyans for the bombing. And Bollier’s been trying to prove that he’s been the victim of a fraud ever since.
[on camera] So you’re saying it wasn’t Libya.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And it wasn’t Abdel Basset al Megrahi.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And it wasn’t your timer.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And we don’t know who fabricated the evidence—
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: —against Libya and you.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes, yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: We know nothing.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes. Yeah. Yeah, true. When you see from this side, we know nothing.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Unfortunately for Bollier, a special Scottish commission reviewed most of his claims about the timer fragment and found them completely unsupported by evidence. And his idea of an international conspiracy to link him to Flight 103? The commission strongly suggested that this was pure fantasy.
So what to do next? How long would I keep up the chase? At some point, I took a detour on my way home and found myself returning to the place where it all started for me so many years ago, Lockerbie.
NEWSCASTER: It’s out here, 18 miles east of Lockerbie, where a pattern of wreckage may well be emerging, sections of the cargo bays in one area, suitcases, backpacks, and personal belongings in another.
NEWSCASTER: The fuselage lay amongst the town’s ruins. The cockpit was three miles away, severed from the rest of the plane, nose down in the soft earth.
KEN DORNSTEIN: In my imagination, it’s always just after 7:00 PM in Lockerbie. It’s always December 21st, 1988. And a Pan Am 747 bound for New York is always just about to explode overhead.
[on camera] Is this Sherwood Crescent?
MAN: It is.
KEN DORNSTEIN: It’s Sherwood Crescent. This is where the wings fell.
NEWSCASTER: —today went to the site of a huge crater caused when the jet plowed into the Sherwood area of the town. It is being excavated by troops and firemen. The smell of aviation fuel still hangs over the scene.
NEWSCASTER: Up ahead is a helicopter which is lighting the scene for the rescue workers. I can see the people— there are dozens of people wandering around, trying to come to terms with what has happened.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The cockpit landed just in this field over here, and the lights on the panel, you know, the instrument panel, were still sort of lit, and— you know, and somebody had to go up and actually see if any of the crew had survived.
MELISSA BROWN, David’s Friend: When you called me, my first take was, “Why is Ken still doing this?” As a brother, you love him, but you don’t owe him anything, you know? And I don’t think you’ll find necessarily peace in yourself by looking into it. But of course, you’re not going to forget.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I just want one person to tell me that the story is true, and I’ll let it drop. I don’t need the whole picture.
MELISSA BROWN: Right.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I just want one guy.
MELISSA BROWN: Yeah, yeah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And then I feel like I’d be done.
MELISSA BROWN: I mean, this is your family legacy, you know? This was your inheritance. You were given this story, and you’re a storyteller, so maybe you have to tell the story.
NORMAN ATKINS, David’s Friend: I mean, you’re not going to bring David Dornstein back. In some perverse way, I’m glad that you’re tracking down the last of the terrorists and finding justice for your brother and my friend. I think that David would have enjoyed the chase and enjoyed the idea that you were going to sit down with his killers.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] That, of course, was the plan, to track down the remaining suspects, and for two years, I’d been trying to carry it out. But for all my efforts there was still just one person ever convicted for Lockerbie, Abdel Basset al Megrahi, and he continued to protest his innocence now that he was back home in Libya.
I decided to return to Tripoli to see if I could talk to Megrahi myself now that there was a new government in place. My old friend and translator, Suliman, had offered to help me track him down. It turned out we weren’t the only ones trying to find him.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: A lot of late news out of Libya tonight. Among the new developments, CNN’s Nic Robertson managed to locate the Pan Am 103 bomber. Here is his report.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN: Abdel Basset al Megrahi was released from a Scottish jail two years ago. He came home to a hero’s welcome, freed on compassionate grounds because doctors said he’d be dead in three months.
The convicted Pan Am 103 bomber lives. We found Abdel Basset al Megrahi’s villa in an upmarket part of town, at least six security cameras and floodlights outside.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I don’t see the guys, the neighborhood watch guys.
NIC ROBERTSON: This is Megrahi’s house. This is where he’s been living for the last couple of years. We’re going to knock on the door, see if we can get any answer.
For fifteen minutes or so, nothing.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: I remember a reporter from CNN found Megrahi.
NIC ROBERTSON: I’m not sure they’ve heard me, so let’s try the last ditch means, which is just—
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: He tried to jump over the wall of Megrahi’s house.
NIC ROBERTSON: Hello? Hello, hello?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: We tried so many times to go the place and we just knock on the door.
KEN DORNSTEIN: You’re going to park right in front?
LIBYAN DRIVER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: OK.
LIBYAN DRIVER: Just normal, just be yourself.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: The very first time, nobody answered. We spent, like, an hour there. Every time we’d go, we’d discuss how we can approach them and how to explain a foreigner, let alone a foreigner who wants to film with Megrahi. At that point, we all thought that Megrahi was brought back to Libya under, you know, bogus, you know, sick leave or something, that, you know, he was supposed to die two years before, but he didn’t. And we then realized that the guy was actually dying.
NIC ROBERTSON: In the two decades since the bomb exploded on board Pan Am 103, it seemed the secrets of the attack would die with the bombers. Convicted Pan Am 103 bomber Abdel Basset al Megrahi appears to be just a shell of the man he was.
Do you know how long he has left?
KHALED MEGRAHI, Son: Nobody can know how long he will stay alive. Nobody know.
NIC ROBERTSON: Whatever secrets he has may soon be gone.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Time was running out to meet Megrahi. But then I got a break. I met up with Dr. Jim Swire, a Lockerbie relative who I’d known for years. It turned out he’d also made the trip to Libya in search of answers. And he, too, was here to try to meet with Megrahi before he died.
Unlike me, Dr. Swire had been to Libya many times before.
[on camera] When was your first trip to Tripoli?
JIM SWIRE, M.D., Lockerbie Relative: About a few weeks after they issued the indictments against the two Libyans.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Back in 1991, Dr. Swire came here to meet face to face with the Libyan leader, Moammar Qaddafi. Over the years, Swire worked hard to persuade Qaddafi to turn over the suspects so the evidence could finally be heard in a proper court.
NEWSCASTER: Abdel Basset Ali al Megrahi was convicted of 270 counts of murder.
KEN DORNSTEIN: But during the course of the resulting trial, Swire says he became troubled by key elements of the prosecution case. The judges had found weaknesses in the identification of Megrahi as the man who bought the clothes wrapped around the bomb. And Swire believed the prosecution had failed to prove the route that the bomb bag had taken to get onto Flight 103.
And then there were deep questions that Swire and others would raise about the legitimacy of the key piece of physical evidence in the case, which they suspect was in some way not genuine.
All of this, in the end, convinced Swire that Megrahi was innocent. He began to meet with the convicted bomber in prison, then started a public campaign for his release.
Dr. JIM SWIRE: I’m well aware that what we’re doing is disturbing to those who think they’ve found closure through the conviction of the Libyan, Megrahi. But I think it would be inhumane, indeed downright cruel, to keep the man in prison to die.
Please understand that I think what I’m doing is to seek the truth. And I also think that if you would look with an open mind for yourselves, you would find there’s a great deal of truth there that you haven’t yet looked at.
I really just want to see Megrahi again the last time before he does die because he’s clearly at the doorway, at the threshold of death.
KEN DORNSTEIN: We were perhaps a strange team. Dr. Swire wanted a chance to say farewell to a man he now considered a friend. And I wanted to meet a man I believed had helped murder his daughter and my brother.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: [on the telephone] How’s your father doing? So his heart is tired. God willing, we’ll give you a call at 12:30.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Suliman helped us make contact with Megrahi’s family.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: It cut off, but he said to call back tomorrow at 12:30, 1:00 o’clock. And he was, like, Dr. Swire alone should come, if it happens at all.
JIM SWIRE: If it happens at all, me alone.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: I’m quoting him when I say if it happens at all.
JIM SWIRE: No mention of Ken.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: It’s— you know, he emphasized the fact that, you know, he’s now really sick. You know, he can’t really even see—
JIM SWIRE: Of course he is.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: —his family and friends. It’s—
JIM SWIRE: We’ll have to rely on what they tell us, then, if he’s that sick.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The plan was set to show up at Megrahi’s house with Dr. Swire. I was unlikely to get in, but if I did get my moment alone with Megrahi, it was the kind of thing I felt I needed to capture.
[on camera] This buttonhole camera goes right through the button. Camera’s right in the hole there. All these buttons have been made to look the same. And the problem is getting it to film straight through. So we’re going to just test this here.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: OK. It looks like it’s pointing at me. I mean, I can look—
KEN DORNSTEIN: Hey, that’s not bad. Yeah, look at that. Good to meet you. Thank you.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Nice— nice to meet you.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Thank you for being with us. Now tell me all of your secrets.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Suliman tried to discourage me from secret filming in Libya, and Dr. Swire didn’t know at all about my hidden camera.
JIM SWIRE: [to doorway intercom] Oh, hello. This is Jim Swire. Oh, Khaled, hello. Oh, bless you. Thank you.
KEN DORNSTEIN: But I felt the situation was just unusual enough to justify it.
JIM SWIRE: Oh, Khaled, hi. This is my friend, Ken. Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Megrahi’s son, Khaled, came to greet us.
JIM SWIRE: How’s Abdel Basset today?
KHALED MEGRAHI: He’s very ill.
JIM SWIRE: I know.
KHALED MEGRAHI: But he want— he want to meet you.
JIM SWIRE: That’d be great.
Here, Khaled, you were saying they tried to jump over the wall.
KHALED MEGRAHI: CNN.
JIM SWIRE: Journalists.
The family was very sensitized by then to the media. And the reason they let me in, I mean, they knew that Megrahi actually wanted to see me.
KHALED MEGRAHI: Only one. Only you.
JIM SWIRE: Only me. OK.
KHALED MEGRAHI: Because he’s so ill and the room is so small.
JIM SWIRE: But I couldn’t get you past the entrance hall of the house. I was taken straight in to the room where Basset was lying in bed, and he was really drifting in and out of consciousness.
But he smiled when he saw me come in, and sort of held out a feeble hand to welcome me, as it were. And there were tears on both sides, actually. We both knew it was our last meeting.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] OK if I stand? I’ll just stand.
[voice-over] So you had gone in and had your meeting, and I was thinking, “What am I going to do?”
[on camera] [subtitles] Bathroom?
And I was shown by the 11-year-old to the bathroom, knowing that to the left was Megrahi’s room. So I was ushered into the bathroom. What do I do?
JIM SWIRE: What did you do?
KEN DORNSTEIN: And I’m washing my hands and I’m thinking, “Am I going to make a scene?” And the only person outside the door is his young son. Am I going to push past him and go into the room and say, “Did you murder my brother? Tell me what you know before you die.”
And I thought, “What’s really going to come of that meeting?” I had come in as your guest, you know, and as their guest. He was dying, and he had made his position clear. And for a bunch of different reasons, I walked out.
JIM SWIRE: I’m satisfied the truth has nothing to do with your father. And the documents to support that obviously are crucial. Thanks very much for your help.
KHALED MEGRAHI: OK. Thank you very much.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I never spoke directly to Megrahi, but I did listen to his final messages to the world.
ABDEL BASSET AL MEGRAHI: [subtitles] I was just visited by Dr. Swire. He said that he doubts my conviction and the truth will emerge one day.
I am a simple human being, simpler than you think. But you, the West, exaggerated this whole thing. Please, leave me alone. I only have a few days left. I want to die at home with my family.
NEWSCASTER: Some breaking news. The only person convicted of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing has reportedly died.
NEWSCASTER: Megrahi always said that he would prove his innocence before he died, was never able to do it. It always appeared that it was unlikely that one person could have been behind such a complex operation and that other elements—
KEN DORNSTEIN: My idea had been to talk face to face with just one of the men involved in my brother’s bombing, but after several trips to Libya, I’d come up short. Dr. Swire might suggest that this was significant. There’s no one to talk to, perhaps, because it wasn’t primarily the Libyans who did it.
But I wasn’t prepared to accept this. I kept coming back to this video I’d gotten out of Libyan state TV. I was convinced it confirmed key parts of the story of Lockerbie, if only I could fully understand it.
First up the stairs was the man in the striped shirt, Said Rashid, one of the men who originally ordered the timers from Edwin Bollier. And there to pick him up at the airport was Abdullah Senussi, the Libyan spy chief who was once convicted of the bombing of a French passenger plane and who was always suspected of a key planning role in Lockerbie.
And then there was the man in the back seat, a mystery Libyan official. He must have been important to have been in the car at that moment, but who was he? I couldn’t help but suspect that he might be the big remaining question mark on my list, an elusive figure whom investigators never fully explained.
[on camera] You mentioned this mysterious figure. I don’t know how his name came into it, but—
RICHARD MARQUISE, FBI, Lockerbie Task Force (Ret.): Abu Agela Mas’ud?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Yeah.
RICHARD MARQUISE: Mas’ud’s name came from the CIA. And I think the information that we’d gotten, that he was a technical guy. Maybe he’s the guy that hooked up the bomb. But he’s one of those guys that we could never identify. When the Scots went to Libya in 1999, they asked about Mas’ud, and they said, “We don’t know who he is. Can’t identify him. No idea who this guy is.”
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] The name of Abu Agela Mas’ud first surfaced during the investigation. It came from a low-level Libyan intelligence agent who secretly provided information to the CIA. In the days and weeks before Lockerbie, the witness observed Abdel Basset al Megrahi traveling to the island of Malta, where the Lockerbie bomb was said to have originated. And traveling with him was the mystery man, Abu Agela Mas’ud.
The CIA suspected Megrahi and Abu Agela of being on some type of technical intelligence operation very close to the time of Lockerbie, but that’s all they seemed to know.
BRIAN MURTAGH, Lockerbie Prosecutor (Ret.): We had no information that Megrahi was in any way a technical explosives kind of guy. I mean, you know, we could— we could infer, “Gee, maybe that could have been this Abu Agela guy.” But we really had no evidence to link him to the bomb.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Abu Agela had slipped through the investigators’ net, and so did one last man on my list, who I suspected of playing a key planning role in the plot, Nassr Ashur.
NEWSCASTER: —Nassr Ashur as the key figure in a series of arms smuggling operations. Qaddafi chose—
KEN DORNSTEIN: Ashur was Qaddafi’s right-hand man when it came to supplying Semtex plastic explosive to Irish Republic Army terrorists in the years before Lockerbie.
NEWSCASTER: —150 tons of weapons for the IRA, including two tons of Semtex.
KEN DORNSTEIN: In my years of work on this story, I only talked to one person who said he knew Colonel Ashur and had actually worked with him testing bombs in the Libyan desert.
EDWIN BOLLIER: I know him, yes. I know him. I was with him in the desert with the military when we checked all their equipments. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. He make some tests with military airplanes and I—
KEN DORNSTEIN: Oh, right. This was that thing, the tests in the desert. Did anyone ever figure out when those tests were?
EDWIN BOLLIER: This was in 1987, yeah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Lockerbie was in ‘88. Then it was the year before.
EDWIN BOLLIER: It was before.
KEN DORNSTEIN: So tell me about that.
EDWIN BOLLIER: I was working in Libya in broadcasting. We make news studios. And somebody came from the military, “Please can you come for two days in the desert. We make tests for something.” And so— and they bring me— this Nassr came. They bring me to this desert.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Bollier denies that these tests in the desert were related to Lockerbie, but the tests did involve his timers and dropping bombs from airplanes. And at the trial, when Bollier was asked who exactly joined him for these tests in the desert, he said a few Libyan colonels were present, including Colonel Nassr Ashur, the explosives supplier.
Bollier said a dark-skinned man was at the tests, as well. He knew him only as “Colonel Ibrahim,” but I still wondered if he was talking about the elusive bomb technician on my list.
EDWIN BOLLIER: I remember there was a black colonel also when we make the tests in the desert.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Very dark skin?
EDWIN BOLLIER: Oh, he have dark skin, and a small man, a small one. I don’t know exactly.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Right. But what’s interesting is that the dark-skinned man seemed to have been the technical adviser, you know, traveling with Megrahi.
EDWIN BOLLIER: The name? What’s the name?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Mas’ud Abu Agela.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Mas’ud Abu Agela. No, I don’t know this man. I have heard this name possible sometimes here or—
KEN DORNSTEIN: Oh, you have heard the name? Mas’ud Abu Agela?
EDWIN BOLLIER: Possible I have heard the name, but—
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I couldn’t be sure whether Bollier actually knew Abu Agela, but he did mention a dark-skinned man at several key points in the story.
[on camera] All right, so here’s the— this is about the tests you’re talking about.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [reading] “At the military base near Sebha”—
EDWIN BOLLIER: Sebha, yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: —“Bollier attended a meeting, a discussion centered on problems the Libyans were having with detonating bombs.”
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yeah. These experiments in the desert was two big container bombs via airplane. And I have written that on the package was Semtex.
KEN DORNSTEIN: OK. Can you see why it’s suspicious if you were at a test in the desert—
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: —the year before Lockerbie—
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: —where they were using a timer and detonating a bomb and there were members of the Libyan military. There was this man—
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: —Colonel Nassr, who turned out to be the man who was helping—
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: —supply Semtex to the IRA, you know the Irish Republican Army terrorists.
EDWIN BOLLIER: Possible I have heard from this, yes. I have heard.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Yeah. So he’s there. And this dark-skinned man, he’s there. And then you’re there, you know? This is why—
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yeah, that’s—
KEN DORNSTEIN: —it looks suspicious—
EDWIN BOLLIER: Yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: —like you are helping the Libyans make the bomb that blew up Flight 103.
EDWIN BOLLIER: No, no. Nothing. No, no, no. No. No. No, it have nothing to do with— with Pan Am or something. I—
KEN DORNSTEIN: They never came to you and said, “You’re good with electronics, can you help us?”
EDWIN BOLLIER: No, no. No, no. No, no.
KEN DORNSTEIN: “Can you help us with various devices?”
EDWIN BOLLIER: No, no, no, no.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Or were you doing things—
EDWIN BOLLIER: We make for the military service, the military procurement.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I had many more questions for Edwin Bollier, but I think he’d long ago run out of meaningful answers.
EDWIN BOLLIER: This thing is curious for me. I don’t know. Oh, yes, this was—
BRIAN MURTAGH, Lockerbie Prosecutor (Ret.): I mean, I can tell you from my own experience that he believes his own story at this point. You could torture him and he’d still tell the same story.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] You wanted Bollier.
STUART HENDERSON, Lead Scottish Investigator (Ret.): Yeah. To be honest, I wasn’t satisfied. I wanted so desperately to get Bollier and so desperately to get the Libyans.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Yeah. If there’s one of them left to get, that’s who I’m looking for.
[voice-over] Talking to Bollier was frustrating, but it did make me feel like I was getting closer to the truth. He was linked with almost every man on my list, but I just couldn’t connect the dots. Now I was back to work on the others. The men I was looking for could be anywhere at this point, and I couldn’t keep up the chase forever.
But then, two years into my search, I finally found someone who could help me. He was a Libyan operative who’d helped carry out another attack against the United States a few years before Lockerbie.
In the mid-1990s, this man had talked to German investigators about what he’d done, and his confession in that case would help me finally unravel a key mystery of Lockerbie.
[on camera] You said he provided some new information?
DETLEV MEHLIS: Yes. Right. The witness described in what way and by whom the bomb was prepared because, of course, you don’t bring a bomb as a bomb. You have to put it together.
KEN DORNSTEIN: So he said there was a bomb expert?
DETLEV MEHLIS: A Libyan bomb expert, yes. He mentioned it was a very dark-skinned person.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Do you remember the name of that person?
DETLEV MEHLIS: He always said— referred to him as Abu Agela.
KEN DORNSTEIN: So the hunt is on for Abu Agela.
ANDREAS SCHULZ: If he’s still alive.
MY BROTHER'S BOMBER (EPISODE THREE)
CO-PRODUCED & EDITED BY
WRITTEN, PRODUCED & DIRECTED BY
SAM AND SOPHIE DORNSTEIN: Hi, Dad! [laughing]
KEN DORNSTEIN: Hi, guys.
SAM AND SOPHIE: Say hi to Dad. Dad, we can’t even see your eyes. We can just see your nose and mouth.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Oh.
SAM AND SOPHIE: Move down. Move down.
KATHRYN GEISMAR: Where are you now? Do you even know where Dad is?
SAM AND SOPHIE: Washington, D.C. So what are you doing in Washington?
KEN DORNSTEIN: That’s a really good question. Well, there’s going to be a whole ceremony at a big cemetery. You know there’s, like, the one national cemetery?
SAM AND SOPHIE: Yeah, Arlington Cemetery.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Arlington National Cemetery. They put up a monument for this bombing that killed Uncle David. And now 25 years later, all the families are going to come, and I’m going to show up for Uncle David.
Can you guys imagine still caring about a story even 25 years later, like–
SAM AND SOPHIE: Yes.
SOPHIE: Yeah, if it made my brother die.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Yeah.
NEWSCASTER: Twenty-five years ago tomorrow, four days before Christmas, a bomb exploded aboard a Pan Am jetliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. All 259 on board, mostly Americans, and 11 on the ground were killed.
NEWSCASTER: And on this anniversary, they will gather once more, mindful that 25 years later, justice has not been done for those lost at Lockerbie.
NEWSCASTER: Hard to believe that a quarter of a century has gone by, and the family members are still asking why, still asking what happened.
NEWSCASTER: The past few minutes, a moment of silence has been held in London, Lockerbie, and Arlington Cemetery to mark the time at 3 minutes past 7:00 in 1988, when the bomb exploded on board.
NEWSCASTER: As they gathered around the memorial in Arlington National Cemetery, a bell was rung as the name of each victim was read aloud.
RICHARD MARQUISE, FBI, Lockerbie Task Force (Ret.): But Lockerbie’s been a huge part of my life, and always will be.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Mine, too.
RICHARD MARQUISE: Yeah, I get that.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Because I’ve been on this trail for a while, you know, trying to find the few guys left who were probably on your list.
RICHARD MARQUISE: Yeah. Someone told me recently that the U.S. government still wants to try to find out more things about Lockerbie. So I feel good about that. This is an FBI agent telling me that. He said we were going to go to conduct additional investigation. I hope it’s true. I hope when Mueller leaves the bureau next year that it doesn’t stop.
NEWSCASTER: Through the years, Robert Mueller has joined families in honoring the victims. Twenty-five years later, Mueller says, the hunt for the bombers goes on.
ROBERT MUELLER, FBI Director (2001-13): There are a number of people that we are still seeking. This investigation is ongoing, and we will do what we can to assure that others involved in some way, shape or form are prosecuted and successfully tried.
NEWSCASTER: The aircraft came out of the sky trailing flames, scattering wreckage, fuel and passengers.
NEWSCASTER: A crater 20 feet deep marks the spot near the main Glasgow road where the jumbo jet came down.
NEWSCASTER: The bomb was so powerful–
KEN DORNSTEIN: Twenty-five years later, why is it that some people can make a kind of peace with it, and other people keep digging around for the truth or justice or the facts or the perpetrators?
JIM SWIRE, M.D., Lockerbie Relative: Why do we have to do it? I don’t know the answer to that. I suppose it’s partly the type of people we are. In my case, I think the campaign has also been the way of coping with the loss of a dearly loved daughter. But I suppose you have to balance the harm it is doing to you and those you love against the good that it might produce in the end, if you can crack it.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] There were times I wished I’d never gone to Libya, that I’d never re-opened all these questions. Lockerbie had become a puzzle that I told myself I was always just on the verge of solving. But there was always a missing piece.
In the end, I decided to limit my focus to just one of the suspects on my list, the mystery man who was on the same flight with the convicted bomber, Megrahi, on the morning of Lockerbie and may well have been with him the day he returned home, the man I suspected of being the Libyans’ bomb expert.
[on camera] Tell me about this Mas’ud Abu Agela.
STUART HENDERSON, Lead Scottish Investigator (Ret.): Yeah. We were very keen to account for his movements. He would pop up in various places. He very much was, explosives-wise, deeply involved in it.
RICHARD MARQUISE: Abu Agela Mas’ud I think is what we always called him.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Right. Was he someone that you actually spoke about, you know, during the investigation?
RICHARD MARQUISE: Absolutely. There was an intelligence assessment at the time that he was a technical expert. And we just could never identify him. The guy just was sort of a ghost. Nobody would acknowledge him. Even after the Scots went to Libya in 1999 and they asked about Mas’ud, they said they never heard of him.
KEN DORNSTEIN: But if you could figure out who he was, he was probably important.
RICHARD MARQUISE: Yeah. Absolutely. He was somebody that maybe had something to do with arming the bomb.
CHECKPOINT GUARD: Give me your passport, American, and for you, and you–
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY, Libyan Journalist: [subtitles] We’re from the media office.
GUARD: You need help?
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] No, no. Very good. Thank you.
NEWSCASTER: The U.S. military, of course, helped with the downfall of the Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi, but since then, Libya has become a country without laws.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Tripoli Libya, 2012. It was now my third time into the country. This time, though, I was looking mainly for one thing, to pick up the trail of the Libyan bomb expert, Abu Agela. But things here had changed pretty significantly, my friend Suliman told me.
[on camera] I mean, what was the security picture at that point?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY, Libyan Journalist: Non-existent. You know, there was so many groups fighting for turf. I mean, the government was trying to take control of the armed groups, but the armed groups were, you know, overwhelming them.
I mean, Tripoli was very difficult at that time because there were nightly clashes. There were, you know, small militias fighting for, you know, this headquarter and that headquarter. And then you have the out-of-town militias, you know, who have their own turfs in different part of the city. It was just– it was crazy.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I still wanted to find out something official about Abu Agela, but now I would need the help of one of the dozens of militias that controlled Tripoli.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: [subtitles] We are with journalists and we have an appointment.
LIBYAN MILITIAMEN: [subtitles] OK, go ahead. May God bless you.
HAFED AL GHWELL, Advisor, World Bank (1999-2014): Everybody has a militia and everybody’s ruling a neighborhood, and everybody’s doing whatever the hell they want. There’s no central authority. There’s no clarity of who’s in charge.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] This is huge.
LIBYAN MAN: This is warehouse, you see?
HAFED AL GHWELL: Even the files of the old intelligence services and the official files of Qaddafi have disappeared. I know some militias who are selling them in pieces.
LIBYAN MAN: [subtitles] You can see, if you like.
HAFED AL GHWELL: There’s a warehouse in Tripoli where you can go and you pay a certain fee at the door, and you go into this warehouse where there are piles of official papers. Some of them are completely insignificant. Some of them are significant. And you go in there and you dig for whatever paper you want.
LIBYAN MAN: There may be something. Look! Come, Ken. Let us see what– I have to check all this. Maybe still have something for Qaddafi here. This is police.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I never found the warehouse selling documents that had anything to do with Lockerbie.
LIBYAN MAN: Look.
KEN DORNSTEIN: But I still looked through every paper I could find that might offer a clue about the suspected bombmaker I was looking for.
[on camera] There may be documents out there that are relevant, but where are they now?
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Maybe some have been destroyed or just thrown in the garbage because they were old documents and they meant nothing to them. To find those names in there is like finding a needle in a– you know, in the middle of hay, so it was difficult.
LIBYAN MAN: All this files, all this. That’s files.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: I remember the frustration of the last trip. We were really depressed about, you know, the rise of militias and Islamic extremists and whatnot. The stability– you know, for Libyans, we took that for granted. I think everybody in the world takes it for granted. But once it’s taken from you, you know, the lawlessness, basically– if something happens to you, there is nobody that you can report it to. There is no justice to be had.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Then later that year, the news from Libya grew worse.
NEWSCASTER: We are coming on the air because we have just learned that the U.S. ambassador to Libya has been killed. It happened overnight, when angry militants stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. They fired shots, set the building on fire. This is the first U.S. ambassador killed on duty in an attack since 1979.
NEWSCASTER: The U.S. is very fearful this will continue. They consider this an extremely dangerous situation.
HAFED AL GHWELL: It is really sad to see, a country that had the opportunity to really start a whole new process. And they had the money. Libya was not Egypt or Tunisia. Libya had oil pumping, you know, every day. But then, you know, it sort of descended into this real mess.
I mean, I’m telling you, inside Libya, there’s no way you’re going to figure this Lockerbie thing out. The only place that I will advise anybody investigating this is to go through the people from the Qaddafi regime who fled the country. A lot of them left.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Libya was no longer where I was likely to find the man I was looking for. I couldn’t pick up any trace of the suspected bomb expert, Abu Agela. But I heard rumors that another of the men on my list, someone with a record of supplying explosives to terrorists, had fled the country, maybe to Cairo. But his trail had gone cold, too.
There was one major figure on my list who definitely fled the country, and not long after my last trip into Libya, he was finally captured and brought back for trial.
NEWSCASTER: It was a humbling return home for Abdullah al Senussi, once one of the most feared people in the country, now surrounded by Libyans chanting for justice and revenge. Senussi is alleged to have been one of the masterminds behind the Lockerbie attack.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I felt sure Senussi knew the truth about Lockerbie, but would he ever tell it? And what about the rest of these three dozen men on trial? What did they know?
I knew only one person who had contact with these former Qaddafi officials personally, Libya expert Hafed Al Ghwell.
HAFED AL GHWELL, Advisor, World Bank (1999-2014) These men believe “I didn’t do anything wrong. I was a part of a government. I represented my nation.” And you know, “I don’t believe I did anything wrong.”
I mean, some of these guys killed for Gaddafi, you know, in the ’70s and ’80s. Qaddafi knew they will always be loyal to him because everything they have comes from him.
NEWSCASTER: The Reagan administration sees Colonel Qaddafi as public enemy number one because he supports worldwide terrorism–
Pres. RONALD REAGAN: This mad dog of the Middle East has a goal of a world revolution, Muslim fundamentalist–
KEN DORNSTEIN: The seeds of Lockerbie, I’ve come to believe, were sown during the days when President Reagan and Moammar Qaddafi became locked in an escalating war of words and attacks.
NEWSCASTER: The leaders of the Western world have called you a terrorist, Colonel Qaddafi.
MOAMMAR QADDAFI: Your government is a terrorist government. Reagan is the biggest terrorist in the world.
NEWSCASTER: Dressed in a designer jumpsuit and sporting sunglasses–
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] How did this guy come to be known to Americans, you know, as this almost cartoonish but dangerous figure?
HAFED AL GHWELL: This is the persona Qaddafi wanted. “This is how I’m going to make a mark on the world stage.” And he started picking fights with the United States for no reason.
NEWSCASTER: The hijacker is preparing for another execution in 10 minutes.
VINCENT CANNISTRARO, Natl. Security Council (1984-87): There was a lot of concern by advisers to President Reagan at the time that you had to do something about Libya.
NEWSCASTER: The Libyan Leader, Colonel Qaddafi, is being blamed for the hijacking.
VINCENT CANNISTRARO: It was an unceasing series of tests by Qaddafi.
NEWSCASTER: The finger of suspicion is pointing hard tonight at Moammar Qaddafi, the Libyan Leader, in connection with Wednesday’s nightclub explosion.
NEWSCASTER: Friday’s bloody terrorist attacks on airports in Vienna and Rome–
Pres. RONALD REAGAN: Mr. Qaddafi must know that we will hold him fully accountable for terrorist operations against Americans.
NEWSCASTER: Several administration officials fanned out on Capital Hill–
VINCENT CANNISTRARO: There were policy meetings going on at the White House and the National Security Council, and all I can tell you is that there was a debate between people who wanted to kill Qaddafi and people who just wanted to scare him.
HAFED AL GHWELL: Qaddafi picked the fight. It wasn’t the U.S.’s fault. The fault of the U.S. is it reacted to him.
NEWSCASTER: It was called Operation El Dorado Canyon. The attack on Libya almost 24 hours ago has left many Libyans dead or injured.
NEWSCASTER: Last night’s raid took a heavy toll here. Libyan officials admit–
VINCENT CANNISTRARO: We bombed Libya because this was the last straw in a whole series of things that Gaddafi had done.
Pres. RONALD REAGAN: I warned Colonel Qaddafi we would hold his regime accountable. He did open hostilities, and we closed them.
NEWSCASTER: Libyan radio is quoted as saying that one of Moammar Qaddafi’s houses was hit and–
HAFED AL GHWELL: The bombing of ‘86 had a huge impact on Qaddafi’s psyche.
NEWSCASTER: If the Americans were trying to wipe out Colonel Qaddafi’s home, they couldn’t have gotten much closer.
HAFED AL GHWELL: It was a 10-minute bombing raid. He disappeared underground. Even his inner circle didn’t know exactly where he was for about three-and-a-half months. And I know somebody who saw him during that period. He said he was completely devastated. He was in a massive depression and could not believe that, no matter what, this is politics. “Why are they trying to kill me and kill my family?”
NEWSCASTER: If the American warplanes were aiming to hit security force headquarters nearby, they missed badly. Instead, they destroyed civilian homes–
VINCENT CANNISTRARO: Before 9/11, that was the only official time I know of that we bombed a country because of terrorism. Was that a good way of dealing with terrorism, to go bombing people? I don’t think that people generally understood that Pan Am 103 was revenge for that 1986 bombing, but it was.
NEWSCASTER: Abu Shalgam, one of Colonel Qaddafi’s most senior diplomats, ready to talk about revenge.
ABDEL RAHMAN SHALGAM, Libyan Ambassador to Italy (1984-95): We said that we will attack anyplace. I think I am clear.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Abdel Rahman Shalgam later renounced Qaddafi, but as Libya’s ambassador in Rome back in 1986, he threatened revenge for the U.S. attack.
NEWSCASTER: This is the largest Libyan people’s bureau in Europe.
KEN DORNSTEIN: He said Libyan embassies around the world were put on alert to look for American targets
ABDEL RAHMAN SHALGAM: At the end of the day, public opinion, not only in Libya and the Arab world, against America at that time.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] And so the message was “There’ll be revenge.”
ABDEL RAHMAN SHALGAM: Exactly.
NEWSCASTER: The mass funeral was for victims of Monday night’s air raid. Coffins were carried along to anti-American chants.
ABDEL RAHMAN SHALGAM: When America attacked Libya, people died. In Benghazi and Tripoli, 49 persons killed.
NEWSCASTER: Sections of the crowd of about 4,000 screamed themselves hoarse.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And you mentioned someone pledging revenge.
ABDEL RAHMAN SHALGAM: Yeah, Said Rashid. He is one heads of the Libyan intelligence. In the funeral of the victims, Said Rashid spoke, and he swear– he said that, “We are going to take our revenge. We will kill the Americans.” And really, he did. He killed Americans.
KEN DORNSTEIN: You said if Libya was involved in Lockerbie, Said Rashid could have sort of organized it.
ABDEL RAHMAN SHALGAM: Yeah. Exactly. He is an engineer, so he has knowledge of explosions and remote controls, and so on. In this case, he is the only one who is able to make the whole program.
KEN DORNSTEIN: He could plan out the different parts of a complicated operation.
ABDEL RAHMAN SHALGAM: Exactly. Exactly. Exactly.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Shalgam said he tried often to get answers about Lockerbie from key members of the Qaddafi inner circle, like Abdullah Senussi.
ABDEL RAHMAN SHALGAM: I tried to know the truth from Abdullah Senussi so many times.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] About Lockerbie.
ABDEL RAHMAN SHALGAM: About Lockerbie. And all the times, he says, “Do you believe what they are saying? It’s propaganda of the Americans.” I couldn’t find anyone who can say to me no or yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] But Shalgam was much more certain about the Libyan role in another attack against Americans two-and-a-half years before Lockerbie.
ABDEL RAHMAN SHALGAM: Said Rashid– he was behind the attack of La Belle in Germany.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] The La Belle disco.
ABDEL RAHMAN SHALGAM: La Belle disco.
NEWSCASTER: It was around 2:00 AM when the bomb went off in the crowded La Belle discotheque. Police say there were about 500 people inside, many of them off-duty U.S. soldiers.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] The cycle of revenge that ended in Lockerbie likely began here, in Germany, when U.S. servicemen at a Berlin nightclub were attacked in April of 1986.
Pres. RONALD REAGAN: The evidence is now conclusive that the terrorist bombing of La Belle discotheque was planned and executed under the direct orders of the Libyan regime. Orders were sent from Tripoli to–
KEN DORNSTEIN: What interested me were clues that several of the men on my list were also involved in the disco bombing. Said Rashid seems to have led the attack, but was never prosecuted.
But there was another man who worked for him on the disco bombing, and this man was would ultimately become the most significant figure in my search for answers about Lockerbie.
NEWSCASTER: Police have arrested a Libyan man suspected in the 1986 bombing of a discotheque in Berlin, a bombing widely seen as an attack against the United States. The man’s name, Musbah Abulgasem Eter. The disco where the bomb went off was a hangout for U.S.–
KEN DORNSTEIN: As it happened, I was able to track down Musbah Eter in Berlin in 2012, and he was willing to talk with me.
MUSBAH ETER: [subtitles] My name is Musbah Eter. I work as a translator and medical consultant for war victims from Libya, and I look after them here in Berlin.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Musbah Eter had spent years in a German prison for the disco bombing. When I met him, though, his job involved checking up on Libyan revolutionaries injured in the war against Qaddafi.
[on camera] OK, and we’re going to film, and that’s OK? We have your permission?
MEDICAL DIRECTOR: OK.
KEN DORNSTEIN: OK.
[voice-over] Eter agreed to let me film with him as he made his rounds at the clinics. At this point, he knew I was a journalist who’d been to Libya, but he didn’t know that I wanted to talk with him about Lockerbie. My hope was to build some trust with Eter first before we settled into our roles as victim and perpetrator.
MUSBAH ETER: [subtitles] So you don’t need physical therapy anymore?
PATIENT: [subtitles] No, but in the beginning, it was very difficult.
KEN DORNSTEIN: By all accounts, Eter had helped arrange medical treatment for these men in Berlin, and they seemed genuinely grateful. But I wondered if they knew about Eter’s ties to the Qaddafi government that they’d just fought so hard to overthrow. I tried myself to understand Eter’s past.
Musbah Eter arrived in Germany in 1984, an intelligence operative working undercover at the Libyan embassy, along with dozens of others, all of whom were under surveillance by the East German secret police, the Stasi.
By late March of 1986, Eter was deeply involved with the plot to bomb the Berlin disco. Some 10 years later, he’d confessed to the German authorities. And it was in that confession where Eter first mentioned a Libyan bomb expert who played a key role in the plot.
DETLEV MEHLIS, La Belle Disco Bombing Prosecutor: Eter described a Libyan who brought the bomb and who instructed him how to assemble it, how to put it together in the end, the individual parts of an explosive device.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] So there was a Libyan bomb expert.
DETLEV MEHLIS: A Libyan bomb expert, yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Do you remember the name of that person?
DETLEV MEHLIS: Yes. Eter had always referred to him as Abu– Abu Gela. And of course, sorry, as a German prosecutor, I have no idea how to spell Abu Gela. I would probably spell it like jelly or something. So I asked him, “Put it down, please,” and this is what he did. And he wrote “neger,” black skin. But here– here in German, it doesn’t have that negative meaning it has in the U.S.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And that’s the only description he wrote there of him, so it must be his most important feature–
DETLEV MEHLIS: Yes. Yes, yes.
KEN DORNSTEIN: –that he’s very dark skinned.
DETLEV MEHLIS: Yeah. Eter’s story was credible. It was highly accurate, and it fit in with the information we had obtained through the Stasi files.
Former Stasi headquarters
KEN DORNSTEIN: More La Belle files.
ALMUT SCHOENFELD: Yes. This is only part of it.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The Stasi had a lot of information about the Libyans.
ALMUT SCHOENFELD: The Stasi had a lot of information on the Libyans.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] The East German secret police, the Stasi, kept a close watch on the Libyans in East Berlin back in the 1980s, and they had the La Belle suspects under close surveillance before and after the bombing.
A lot of the most sensitive files they compiled were likely destroyed, but enough were preserved to help make the case against the Libyans for La Belle, and I was hoping there were still enough documents left to make the key link to Lockerbie.
[on camera] Could we see one of them?
[voice-over] To my surprise, I was able to find Abu Agela’s name all over the Stasi files. After the disco bombing, it seemed, he stayed in room 526 of Berlin’s Metropole Hotel. He used various code names and aliases, but the Stasi was also able to record his real Libyan passport number, 835004. And this number turned out to be exactly what I was looking for, the missing piece of a puzzle I’d been trying to assemble for years.
[on camera] You know, I looked at those Stasi files, and I was surprised to see this Abu Agela and his passport number there because in the Lockerbie case, there were CIA cables that describe Abu Agela’s name and his role and that showed his passport number, and there was a match.
Would that surprise you, that the bomb expert in La Belle was also involved in Lockerbie?
DETLEV MEHLIS: Of course, I’m not surprised that Abu Agela would also do the same for other bombs, including Lockerbie.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] So what did all of this really mean? I kept coming back to those images I’d gotten out of state TV in Libya. More specifically, I was focused on the man I believed was Abu Agela, there in the back seat greeting Megrahi when he returned home.
Records show that Megrahi and Abu Agela were traveling on the same flight several times before Lockerbie, flying in and out of the island of Malta, where the bomb was said to have originated. In the days and weeks before the bombing, the CIA’s informant at the Malta airport suspected that Megrahi and Abu Agela were planning some type of special operation.
RICHARD MARQUISE, FBI, Lockerbie Task Force (Ret.): We absolutely were convinced that he was involved and that he may have been the guy that wired up the bomb, that did all the technical stuff with the explosive. But we had no other– we didn’t know who else he was.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Right. He– basically, this CIA assessment tells the story.
[voice-over] I walked the original Lockerbie investigators through the trail that led me to the Libyan bomb expert.
RICHARD MARQUISE: And Mas’ud.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] And Mas’ud Abu Agela, passport number 835004. It’s the same as the Stasi documents. So Megrahi is traveling twice before Lockerbie with the bomb expert from La Belle disco.
RICHARD MARQUISE: That’s pretty interesting. Would have been great to have known all that. That’s amazing.
KEN DORNSTEIN: So during the La Belle investigation, they find some Stasi documents. This is from April of ‘86. This is the week after La Belle disco. And then you find this name, and you find the passport number.
BRIAN MURTAGH, Lockerbie Prosecutor (Ret.): 835004. Is that the same? Yes, certainly is.
KEN DORNSTEIN: There’s a solid connection here. There’s the same passport number–
BRIAN MURTAGH: It’s a hell of a coincidence!
KEN DORNSTEIN: And there is a witness in Berlin. His name is Musbah Eter. He’s the Libyan who confessed in the La Belle case, who names Abu Agela. He looks like this. And Eter–
BRIAN MURTAGH: And what does he say? He says, basically, Abu Agela armed the bomb for the La Belle disco.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Yeah. It’s in German, but I’ll give you from the English side.
BRIAN MURTAGH: I mean, I– you know, if agents brought me this now– and you know, I’m not there. I don’t know, you know, what the–
KEN DORNSTEIN: But as a prosecutor assessing what–
BRIAN MURTAGH: You find out– you find– you go talk to this guy. You find out, you know, what he says. You get his story down, and you try and figure out how you can corroborate it.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I returned to Berlin several times to learn more from Musbah Eter. At this point, I’d told him my brother had been killed in the Lockerbie bombing and that I was hoping he might be able to help me find the truth.
MUSBAH ETER: [subtitles] Here is the old Libyan embassy in East Germany.
KEN DORNSTEIN: He took me to the building where he and Abu Agela had worked together in the mid-1980s.
MUSBAH ETER: [subtitles] I lived in an apartment there in the back for five or six months. I was 26 years old, and straight from Libya.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I was hoping he would tell me more about Lockerbie. But then in the middle of our filming, Eter struck up a conversation with a businessman who now worked at the old embassy.
SOUND WOMAN: This was once the Libyan embassy. Did you know that?
GERMAN BUSINESSMAN: Yes, yes, we know Qaddafi was in there.
MUSBAH ETER: Does it look different now?
GERMAN BUSINESSMAN: I don’t know. I wasn’t inside with Qaddafi back then.
MUSBAH ETER: Ah. You weren’t inside back then, but I was.
GERMAN BUSINESSMAN: I heard a rumor that the La Belle disco bombing was carried out from this building.
MUSBAH ETER: This is no rumor. It was organized in this building.
GERMAN BUSINESSMAN: I can’t believe it. That’s true then?
MUSBAH ETER: Absolutely. The attack was steered right there from the second floor.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Eter persuaded the businessman to take him inside. And back in his old office, Eter kept getting deeper into the details of what he’d done here.
MUSBAH ETER: [subtitles] From right here, we conducted state terrorism, surveillance of enemies. And from here, we launched the bombing of the Berlin nightclub, from the second floor, carrying with it the destruction and murder of the innocent.
What we did was wrong, and I admit it. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have done it. But the pressure from the state and the direct orders from the security services were the reason why so many Libyan youths were caught up in it.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I knew what Eter had done in the 1980s. He struck me as no different than the men on my list, and maybe his explanation for why he’d once blown up Americans was no different from what the actual Lockerbie bombers might have told me, as well.
But I still wanted more. I still wanted to find the bombmaker, Abu Agela. And Eter, to my surprise, told me that he would help. He suggested I give him a few months to make contact with Abu Agela, and then we should meet again in Berlin.
SOUND WOMAN: Want me to call him?
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Yeah. What did he say the last time?
SOUND WOMAN: The last time, he says that he’s fine doing it.
KEN DORNSTEIN: He said he would do it?
SOUND WOMAN: Yeah, he had no problem with it. So maybe he’s busy.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Eter promised to sit for an interview, laying out everything he knew about the Libyan bombmaker’s role in Lockerbie. But several times, we planned to meet, and several times he canceled.
[on camera] Should we get out of here?
SOUND WOMAN: Let’s get of here, and let’s not give up.
Two Years Later
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] At this point, Musbah Eter was my only link to the man I believed helped prepare the Lockerbie bomb. Back in Berlin, he’d assured me that the dark-skinned bomb expert was still alive and still in Libya. I now started to wonder if Eter would be willing to work directly with the U.S. government to pursue Abu Agela.
BRIAN MURTAGH, Lockerbie Prosecutor (Ret.): I guess the number one question I would have is can we have access to this guy? If Ken Dornstein can go talk to him–
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Right.
BRIAN MURTAGH: I guess the next question is what kind of cooperation can the U.S. government or the Scots get in getting access to Abu Agela.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Right, right.
BRIAN MURTAGH: I mean, this isn’t easy, you know, because it’s a foreign government in a failed state that’s, you know, a basket case at this stage.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY, Libyan Journalist: It’s not going to be an easy ride.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Right. You and I can’t do what we did a few years ago in today’s Libya, can we.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: Uh-uh. You know, the bombings and political unrest and all of this terrorism that’s happening, and you know, the power vacuum, all of these militias, the carjackings, the– you know, there’s an ongoing war now in Libya.
NEWSCASTER: Libya has descended into its worst violence since the uprising that ousted Moammar Qaddafi three years ago. Dozens of civilians are caught in the crossfire between Libyan special forces and Islamist militants.
NEWSCASTER: The country is in chaos. U.S. diplomats are gone from the embassy and Islamic militants are there celebrating.
NEWSCASTER: –plunging into the pool at a U.S. embassy in Tripoli, the acrobatics a celebration–
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] The news from Libya was consistently grim. Some people I talked to there quietly longed for the order of the old regime.
NEWSCASTER: In Libya, a trial has begun for the sons of Moammar Qaddafi and more than two dozen of his ex-officials.
KEN DORNSTEIN: At the same time, in Tripoli, the new government was continuing its trial of former Qaddafi officials.
NEWSCASTER: –ex-spy chief, Abdullah al Senussi, was among the defendants fenced off behind bars.
NEWSCASTER: –from corruption to war crimes related to the 2011 uprising–
KEN DORNSTEIN: The Libyans were interested in crimes committed during the revolution, but I was listening at home for details about the men on my list.
Then, in the middle of the trial, a photo arrived by email from Musbah Eter. It was poor quality and came with no explanation, but in the center of the frame was a dark-skinned man. The blue jumpsuit and prison bars made it pretty clear that he was one of the men on trial in Tripoli.
So I went looking for every photo I could find of the men on trial. And there, in one of them, behind Abdullah Senussi, the former intelligence chief, was the dark-skinned man. The more I looked, the more photos I found of him. I captured these images and sent them to Musbah Eter in Berlin. He said this was indeed the bomb expert, Abu Agela, 100 percent.
It was hard to believe I was now looking at the man I’d been trying to find for so many years. But I still wanted more confirmation. So I connected with a human rights worker who’d been monitoring the trials in Libya.
HANAN SALAH: Hi, Ken.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Hey, how are you?
HANAN SALAH: We can attempt cameras, but I’m not sure it’s going to last.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] I told her who I was looking for. At first, she couldn’t find Abu Agela’s name on the list. But then–
HANAN SALAH: Oh, wait. Wait, wait. Wait, wait. Wait. I have a name. It’s just written slightly differently.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] What does it look like to you?
HANAN SALAH: I think it’s defendant number 28 in this case. So his first name is Abu A’ujilah. That would be his first name. And as to my understanding, the biggest charge against him seems to be bombmaking in relation to the 2011 conflict, charges of setting up bombs in vehicles.
[document translation on screen: “Booby-trapping a number of vehicles with explosive materials”]
KEN DORNSTEIN: Wow. That sounds like him.
HANAN SALAH: Yeah. I would say that’s for sure the same person.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The main trial of these guys– there’s 36, 37 of them, you know, and they’re there for what is more or less a show trial.
BRIAN MURTAGH: Right.
KEN DORNSTEIN: That’s Abdullah Senussi.
BRIAN MURTAGH: OK.
KEN DORNSTEIN: But if you look behind Abdullah Senussi–
BRIAN MURTAGH: There’s a dark-skinned man!
KEN DORNSTEIN: There’s a dark-skinned man. You pull all the images, and you keep finding a dark-skinned man.
BRIAN MURTAGH: Right.
KEN DORNSTEIN: But I still would like to know more. So I said, “Is there– there’s 36 men on trial. Is there a charge sheet here?”
BRIAN MURTAGH: Yeah, what are they charged with?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Number 28 on the charge sheet. And I translate it, and you can even grab it and put it into Google Translate, and it’s “Abougela Masoud.” And the charge is bombmaking.
BRIAN MURTAGH: My goodness! From a moral standpoint, and from an administration of justice standpoint, I can see no good reason not to pursue this. That’s not to say you’re not going to run into a brick wall.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I’m interested in the story that connects La Belle, Lockerbie–
ANDREAS SCHULZ: So I’m mainly responsible for collecting evidence.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Well, that’s really what I’m interested in.
[voice-over] I made contact with a German lawyer who had extensive files on Libyan terror operations.
[on camera] I’m sort of deeply interested in all the nitty-gritty of who did what. And there’s one person, I think, whose name comes up–
ANDREAS SCHULZ: What’s his name?
KEN DORNSTEIN: Mas’ud Abu Agela, or–
ANDREAS SCHULZ: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, yeah. We were checking the files there, but we haven’t found anything on this name. So what I would suggest is that we meet each other–
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] The lawyer was willing to help me track the bomb expert, Abu Agela, who, he said, was still wanted for the disco bombing. The lawyer was also interested in the link to Lockerbie. In both cases, the key witness would turn out to be the lawyer’s client, Musbah Eter.
Since my last trip to Berlin, I learned the U.S. government had contacted Eter. They’d apparently heard about the link I’d found between him, the Libyan bomb expert and Lockerbie.
ANDREAS SCHULZ: I believe that the law enforcement people, they are motivated and they take it for serious. I have no idea–
KEN DORNSTEIN: Andreas Schulz is Musbah Eter’s lawyer. He was careful not to reveal too many details of the ongoing investigation.
ANDREAS SCHULZ: The competent authority in the U.S. is the FBI for this case. And that means that the FBI was here.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] About Lockerbie.
ANDREAS SCHULZ: Recently, yes. But the main problem is time. Time is running against the investigation because these people are at a certain age. But you know, this is in the hands of the U.S. authorities. If you put all the power and the capability the U.S. has, I think there are always ways to get the hand on the culprits of Lockerbie. So it’s a question of the political will.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] Since the bombing in 1988, the FBI has maintained Lockerbie as an open case. But to my knowledge, they never found a witness with real first-hand information about the plot.
That is, until they apparently became aware of my reporting about Musbah Eter, then requested to meet with him several times at the U.S. embassy in Berlin. It was in these meetings, I later found out, that Eter offered new details about Lockerbie.
Eter told the FBI that he had no doubt that Lockerbie was carried out by Libyan intelligence. He said the operation was led by Said Rashid, who spoke often about the need to avenge the U.S. bombing of Tripoli with at least double the casualties.
During the year before Lockerbie, Eter said, Rashid hatched a plan to take down a U.S. plane. He said Abdel Basset al Megrahi was part of these early discussions and would be a key member of the team that would carry it out.
Most significantly, Eter said he had conversations with the technical expert who he’d worked with on the disco bombing, Abu Agela, and that Abu Agela personally told him that he’d helped carry out Lockerbie. Abu Agela apparently also took responsibility for La Belle and the bombing of a French passenger plane that killed 170 people.
RICHARD MARQUISE: If he’s says these things and there are facts to back up some of the things he says – and it sounds like there are – I don’t know why they would not want to bring that to court.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Right.
RICHARD MARQUISE: If there’s somebody alive today that’s walking the streets, that was involved in this, and there’s knowledge of that, we should be going after them. We should be going after them.
We would have gone after them in 1991, if– if– especially if we had this kind of information. We would have indicted– certainly would have indicted him.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [voice-over] When it came to Abu Agela, the original Lockerbie investigators did gather important evidence that they were never able to use against him. This evidence centered around the airport in Malta, just off the Libyan coast, where the bomb was said to have originated.
Here they found the landing card that showed Abu Agela had entered Malta the week before the bombing, complete with the passport number that matched the CIA and Stasi records. They even had Abu Agela’s fingerprints.
Then they found the passenger list for the flight that Abu Agela took home to Tripoli the day of the bombing, possibly after helping arm the device that was then sent on to Flight 103. Joining Abu Agela on that flight was Abdel Basset al Megrahi, who was traveling under a known alias.
All of this evidence was gathered years ago, but it took Musbah Eter’s statements in Berlin to apparently tie it all together and potentially generate the first new charges in the case in some 25 years.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: The more we go deeper, the more we realize we were always on the right track and we were always right about this.
KEN DORNSTEIN: [on camera] Right.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: How does that make you feel, like– I mean, where are we now?
KEN DORNSTEIN: I don’t know. It’s gone, you know, about as far as I can go. You know, what happened inside that embassy, that’s out of my hands and Eter’s now potentially a witness in a federal case. He’s not– he’s not a guy in my movie anymore.
SULIMAN ALI ZWAY: I think you’ve pushed as hard as you can push. This is– maybe this is as far as you can go, so–
KEN DORNSTEIN: The whole purpose of finding them was to come face to face, sit there with someone and say, You know you killed my brother, and he was a real person and I loved him and other people loved him.
NORMAN ATKINS, David’s Friend: Yeah.
KEN DORNSTEIN: And you shouldn’t have done that.
NORMAN ATKINS: Yeah. Terrorists killed your brother and my friend. I don’t know that we can cause them to feel accountable or to feel shame for what it is that they produced. They ended his life, and there were maybe 270 other David Dornsteins who were aboard that particular flight, and we’re not going to bring those people back.
TIM BLAKE NELSON, David’s Friend: I think about him constantly. I think about what was lost when he was lost and how lucky I was to have known David Dornstein. I mean, there are all sorts of ways to pursue meaning from tragedy. And killing David on that plane– the only way that I can make sense of it is– I can’t make sense of it.
KEN DORNSTEIN: I’m sure there are people in my life who are thinking, “It’s not healthy for you to go on chasing Libyans, chasing some kind of truth that won’t bring your brother back and doesn’t allow you to live your life fully.”
JIM SWIRE, M.D., Lockerbie Relative: Do you go on? That’s what you’re asking.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Yeah.
Dr. JIM SWIRE: Do I go on? I think only if you can rein it in sufficiently not to allow it to destroy your existing family and your future family and your future happiness because you can’t bring back the people you lost.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Right. I have done everything I could to establish–
[voice-over] These days, Dr. Jim Swire still maintains his campaign for a new inquiry into the bombing. He still believes that much of the prosecution case against Megrahi and the Libyans doesn’t hold up to scrutiny.
[on camera] I want you to see the things that you might not be aware of that raise questions for me. But what I found is that–
[voice-over] I walked Dr. Swire through the trail of papers that led me to the man I believed to be the Lockerbie bomb expert.
[on camera] –Abu Agela Mas’ud–
[voice-over] And I tried to explain how this bomb expert, Abu Agela Mas’ud, was tied to the man whose innocence Dr. Swire had been fighting for over the years.
[on camera] So Megrahi is traveling with this person, Abu Agela Mas’ud, before the bombing. And it’s hard for me to imagine Megrahi himself wasn’t involved. This person is a known bomb expert traveling with Megrahi the day of Lockerbie.
If this story that I’m putting together here were true, it would challenge a lot of what you have come to believe.
Dr. JIM SWIRE: I don’t know what to make of that. But on the other hand, I’m not the sort of guy who wants to sit around and watch this sort of thing dismissed as not worth pursuing simply because it doesn’t match what we think we know. But you’ve got to take it to the next step, I’m afraid.
It’s been great to see you.
KEN DORNSTEIN: Thank you. Terrific.
[voice-over] Over the course of the year after this meeting, Dr. Swire continued to fight against the original verdict in the Lockerbie case. And I continued to develop evidence about the Libyan bomb expert, Abu Agela.
As I gathered more information, I shared it all with Dr. Swire, and he always responded in a very thoughtful way. In the end, he allowed that Abu Agela and others in the Qaddafi inner circle may have played a role in Lockerbie, but he remained wholly committed to one core belief, that his friend, Abdel Basset al Megrahi, was innocent.
Megrahi himself was dead, of course, and so was the likely mastermind of the bombing, Said Rashid. And Abdullah Senussi? The former intelligence chief has been on trial in Tripoli, and the summer of 2015, he was finally sentenced.
LIBYAN JUDGE: [subtitles] First, the defendants to be punished by firing squad. Abdullah Mohammed Senussi–
NEWSCASTER: In news from Libya, the former head of intelligence and eight others have been sentenced to death for committing war crimes during the crackdown against–
KEN DORNSTEIN: Abu Agela was sentenced, as well.
LIBYAN JUDGE: Abu Agela Mohammed Kher–
KEN DORNSTEIN: He was given 10 years for making bombs during the Libyan revolution. But thus far, he faces no charges for his possible role in Lockerbie.
HAFED AL GHWELL, Advisor, World Bank (1999-2014): I mean, the issue of Lockerbie– the biggest victim is the truth, the simple truth. Forget about indictments, about who goes to jail. It’s the simple truth of what happened. Why? Because nobody has a stake in telling you the truth.
KEN DORNSTEIN: The FBI and the Justice Department say they can’t comment publicly about the Lockerbie case, which remains an ongoing investigation. And though it’s been some 25 years since they last filed charges in the case, they maintain that they’ve been working aggressively to bring those responsible for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 to justice.
NORMAN ATKINS: I think that David would be proud of you for both keeping his memory alive, but also by doing something that is very much in the spirit of what David would have done had he been in your shoes.
I hope that when this project is done, you will close this chapter and move on with your life and keep David’s memory alive, particularly by communicating all of the best things about him to your children.