Barack Obama last week on the release of Al Megrahi: “I think all of us here in the United States were surprised, disappointed, and angry about the release of the Lockerbie bomber. And my administration expressed very clearly our objections prior to the decision being made and subsequent to the decision being made. So we welcome any additional information that will give us insights and a better understanding of why the decision was made.”
What about this from a letter published today on the US State Dept website? to Alex Salmond from Richard LeBaron, US
Chargé d’Affaires dated August 12th 2009:
“Nevertheless, if Scottish authorities come to the conclusion that Megrahi must be released from Scottish custody, the U.S. position is that conditional release on compassionate grounds would be a far preferable alternative to prisoner transfer, which we strongly oppose.”
On that I’d reckon “disappointed” would be the only sustainable or credible objection the US president could have considering his government’s position before the release.
Salmond has been all over the broadcast media today about the publication of this letter. He has barely been able to conceal his glee and has urged the USA and the UK governments to publish ALL their material relating to the release (the only material which remains outwith the public domain) which he says will totally vindicate and clarify the Scottish government’s decision and position.
I know he has a reputation as a gambler but why would he appear so confident if this were not so?
I have a feeling that Kevin McKenna in yesterday’s Observer may have called it just about right.