[On this date in 2011 an article headlined US tells Libya rebels: Capture the Lockerbie bomber for us was published on the Mail Online website. It reads in part:]
A dramatic mission to capture the freed Lockerbie bomber from Libya and return him to face justice in the United States was revealed last night.
Under a secret deal between Barack Obama and Libyan rebel leaders, Abdelbaset Al Megrahi would be detained by opposition troops and then handed over to US Special Forces.
Senior Congressional sources in Washington have disclosed to The Mail on Sunday that President Obama has told the Libyan rebels through intermediaries that a condition of continued support from the US is that they must hand over Megrahi if they enter Tripoli.
The mission would involve Megrahi being flown to a neutral Arab country by US Special Forces once he is handed over by the rebels, and then on to America to face trial. [RB: Megrahi had already faced trial and been convicted -- wrongly, in my view -- in a process that the United States supported and participated in. He could not have been tried again in the USA unless Federal Law had been changed to allow it.] British SAS soldiers are unlikely to be directly involved in the operation. (...)
If Megrahi is captured, the hope is he may implicate Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi in the Lockerbie bomb plot.
The plan to capture the bomber came after US Senators Frank Lautenberg and Robert Menendez met Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder last week to demand the US ‘continue working to return Abdelbaset Al Megrahi to prison’.
Mr Menendez has amended a Congressional Bill authorising the continued use of force in Libya to include a paragraph ordering ‘the continuation of Federal investigations into the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103’.
Congressional sources disclosed that the US will ‘grab’ Megrahi as soon as they can. (...)
When the US State Department was asked to comment on the Megrahi plot, an official said he would ‘take the question’. This is a regular tactic used by the State Department enabling it to neither confirm nor deny what is put to officials.
US government sources say if Megrahi were found guilty after a trial, he would get life without parole.
Although there would be calls for him to be executed, international pressure is likely to prevent the death sentence being carried out.