Today, Brad Ellsworth sent the following letter to House Foreign Affairs Chairman Berman and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Towns, calling on them to investigate what role BP played in lobbying for the release of convicted Libyan terrorist Al-Megrahi who is responsible for the death of 189 American citizens:
July 16, 2010
The Honorable Howard Berman
House Committee on Foreign Affairs
2170 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
The Honorable Edolphus Towns
House Committee on Oversight Government Reform
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Chairman Berman & Chairman Towns,
In 2001, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmet Al-Megrahi was convicted in a Scottish court of 270 counts of murder--including the murder of 189 innocent American citizens--due to his role in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. While serving a life sentence, Al-Megrahi reportedly began receiving treatment for prostate cancer in 2008. In August 2009, Scotland's Secretary for Justice released Al-Megrahi, stating the terrorist was in the final stages of terminal prostate cancer and was expected to die within three months. So, after serving only eight and a half years in prison after murdering 270 civilians in an act of terrorism, Al-Megrahi was greeted with a hero's welcome in Libya. Despite the medical report cited by the Scottish government, Al-Megrahi is still alive, has been released from the hospital, and is reportedly living at his family's villa.
Compounding this outrage, recent reports have indicated United Kingdom economic interests may have played an important role in the Scottish government's sudden decision to release Al-Megrahi, who has yet to confess or apologize for his role in the 1988 bombing. Specifically, Al-Megrahi's release may have been integral in maintaining an agreement between UK-based oil giant BP and the Libyan government to give BP the rights to a $900 million oil exploration deal in Libyan territory. The British Ambassador to the United States, Nigel Sheinwald, has argued that these reports are filled with inaccuracies and that speculation is harmful to the interests of the United Kingdom, our close ally.
Over the next several months, Congress will make several important policy and spending decisions on issues which could affect the parties involved in this case, and I believe these reports demand an immediate, full-scale Congressional investigation. Al-Megrahi is responsible for the death of 189 innocent American civilians, and their families deserve to know the truth. Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee announced it will hold a hearing later this month to investigate the circumstances of Al-Megrahi's release to Libya. I believe this investigation will require more than hearings. I urge you to work together to use the unique expertise and resources of your committees to bring the facts of the case to light, so Congress can respond appropriately.