August 20th, 2009
09:37 PM ET

Live Blog from the Anchor Desk 8/20/09

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We have new information tonight about an alleged struggle within the Bush administration just days before the 2004 presidential election. According to Former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, senior officials including former Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, pushed to raise the terror threat level to orange after Osama Bin Laden released an audiotape critical of then President George W. Bush.

And victims' family members and advocates are grieving today as the only man convicted in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland - which killed 270 people - was released on humanitarian grounds Thursday from a British prison. We speak to one man whose brother was killed in the attack.

Want to know what else we're covering? Read EVENING BUZZ

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Filed under: Live Blog • T1
soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. Jo in San Jose

    It breaks my heart to see Sen. Kennedy so ill.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  2. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    This was a slap in their faces! Another tragedy for the families of Pan Am 103. How could the British authorities even consider this? He doesn't deserve any compassion whatsoever.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  3. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Let's make it clear. He was welcomed as a hero not because an innocent man was released, but because a guilty one was. The act is celebrated.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  4. Jim

    The release of the prisioner is another example of incompetent people being placed into positions of high responsibility without any true means of determining their ability to act with any degree of reason.
    The justice system worldwide is, and has been, in a state of chaos.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  5. Tabitha

    If it turns out that the terrorist isn't really dying, can they put him back in prison?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  6. Paolo

    After hearing Flynn's statement about those dying in Scottish prisons because of natural causes, it may be worth thinking about if a case's publicity there will be a major factor in getting released.

    Putting compassionate release aside, what appalled me was the hero's welcome back in Libya. Which country in its right mind would give a grand welcome to a clear convict?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  7. Martina Ilstad Germany

    Hey Anderson
    It must be a nightmare for the families of the victims of pan am 103.Why is this murder free,for me he has to stay in prison for ever,he had no mercy for his victims

    August 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  8. Casey Jones - Palm Springs, CA

    Regarding the release of the terrorist, I can't help but think something is going on behind the scenes that we are not privy to. It just doesn't make sense that this guy would be released if there are so many others who die of natural causes while in Ireland prisons.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  9. sharon, sydney, ns

    Wow, fair point. Never thought that. I still don't get why Scotland did what they did though.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  10. Lisa A. Philadelphia, PA

    Talk of compassion and mercy, where was compassion and mercy when he planted that bomb?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  11. Sandra Robertson, GA

    Evening Anderson. Al-Megrahi should not have been released. He should haven taken his last breath in prison where he belonged. There is now no justice for the Lockerbie victims. Libyans welcoming him home with open arms is quite sickening.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  12. Toby

    Agree that the Libyans, celebrating this is disgusting. Puts the people of Scotland way above the Libyans. Their international status was inproving, this puts them back a decade. But at least it exposes a facade and makes some good use of his impending death.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  13. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Syracuse University lost something like 35 exchange students. That was on my mind when my daughter did a semester overseas. This is an absolute disgrace.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  14. Samantha,New Jersey

    I can't imagine being one of the family members..

    August 20, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  15. Heidi Ann Berg

    Politics are definitely playing a big role on releasing that man ...there is something not right

    August 20, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  16. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    My heart goes to Brian Flynn and his families who lost love ones as his brother.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  17. starr, formerly known as vincent

    @ Erica, i can't even imagine how the families feel...it's got to be beyond anything we can imagine.

    Excellent remarks by Brian Flynn.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  18. Isabel • Brazil

    @ Erica
    It's true! We have to think in these families!

    August 20, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  19. Tabitha

    So true, Erica. Very sad, and my thoughts and prayers go out to them.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  20. Gene White

    What a joke. A slap in the face to the families of the victims.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  21. Staci

    Oh, everyone will despise me for this, but a man with five children and a terminal brain tumor can have an epiphany, even without the circumstancial evidence. I feel extreme sympathy for the family members left without thier loved one, but accusing a country of a group's actions is absurd. It has happened too often in the Middle East, and I can only hope the fear which drives these radical assumption's won't spread West into more Africa.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  22. AndreinFL

    @Dulcie, you have to understand a lot of Libyans think he is innocent. It's in someways similar to United States citizens who go abroad and break some law and get greeted when they return home.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  23. ericacnn

    hello, everyone. what a day for the families of the victims of pan am 103.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  24. Lisa A. Philadelphia, PA

    What does Scotland gain by sending this man to Libya?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  25. Fay - California

    A totally wrongheaded and terrible decision by Scotland to add more pain to the families of this terrorist by allowing him to be released.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  26. Toby

    The poeple of Scotland have demonstrated a compassion that puts them above the terrorists. The terrorists lose.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  27. Isabel • Brazil

    I don't feel comfortable in knowing that the person is dying in prison, but if he committed a crime and was sentenced ... is difficult to change the rule in the middle of the game!

    @ David, Indiana
    My Thursday was agitated because I have tomorrow off! This is very good!

    August 20, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  28. Minou, New York City

    How can this one man have the power to overrule a court's sentence AND the will of the people?? That's not right.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  29. Regina

    They should not have released him, but what can we do. Somehow i think we will find out later this has to do with oil.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  30. sharon, sydney, ns

    This really doesn't make any sense? What gov't in their right mind would do this? If he did the crime, he should be doing the crime. Is there anything that might be politically motivating this decision. I know it sounds strange, but does Scotland owe Lybia anything?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  31. Gloria, Brooklyn, NY

    It is possible that the USA may arrest him with legal charges.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  32. Anthonia-(Bay Area)California

    Who let him go free? This is insane! why would the officals want bomber go free and enjoy life?...while the victims families cant bring their own loves back from the dead! how pathetic!!

    August 20, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  33. Dulcie - Denver

    I'm not sure how I feel about the compassionate release, but my sympathies go out to the families of the victims. It was in extremely poor taste for the Libyans to celebrate his release.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  34. starr, formerly known as vincent

    Yesterday, when i first heard about this "compassionate" release, i had mixed emotions.

    However, i fully admit i am now deeply offended & am very angry to see that he arrived in Lybia as a hero!

    This situation shows us that nothing has changed in Lybia. It's "business as usual".

    August 20, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  35. Megan Dresslar - Shoreline, WA

    Abdel Basset Al-Megrahi is not hero welcome home.... I also agree with President Obama said.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  36. Sharon Hastings

    Scotland, are you crazy? He should die in prison surrounded only by other criminals and murderers.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  37. Robin Hughes

    I have a new found respect for Tom Ridge. Congrat's Tom, you deserve to sleep better now. There has got to be laws broken here. Will America just look away again because it's the 'president' ?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  38. Heather - Spokane, WA

    Why should he get to go home and die comfortably? The 270 people he killed didnt get to do that.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  39. Dodie ~ California

    The Scottish justice system releasing Abdelbaset al-Megrahi conveys a message to all terrorists that you can kill many people and spend only 8 or 9 years in prison.

    My concern is…….. this act could encourage others to commit the same behavior as the Western world is perceived as weak!

    August 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  40. Donna in MD

    I'm sure a lot of people in the US, Britain, and a lot of other places are just sickened by those pics of the terrorist's welcome.......this must be devastating for them.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  41. Ali

    Bush and Cheney can go to any level to achieve their political interests. I am not surprised they raised the security levels to tilt support in their favour.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  42. Tabitha

    Do the Libyans understand what he did?

    August 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  43. Minou, New York City

    Too bad the Libyan people chose to give this man a hero's welcome! If they had gained any trust and respect of other nations in the last few years, they surely lost it again today.

    I can understand that the families are extremely upset about this.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  44. Paula, Colorado

    I can understand the outrage over the terrorist-bomber. It seems ridiculous to have him released for humanitarian reasons, and, though he may be terminally ill, appearing as if it is a victory.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  45. Jacqueline, NY

    Wow! 1988? I remember that as if it were yesterday.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:17 pm |
  46. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    These guys that kept quiet about it are just as corrupt as anyone in the WH at that time. Ridge doesn't get a pass for this.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  47. Isabel • Brazil

    I really don't feel comfortable with this decision of freeing prisoners on compassionate grounds. I don’t agree with this.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  48. Regina

    I am not surprised, with Cheney, Rove, Rumsefeld, and Bush in charge. This might explain last year, why Ridge was so reluctant to run for President or be on someone else's ticket. Maybe he has some character, that's clear the others do not have.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  49. Tabitha

    I couldn't believe Scotland released him, and I definitely can't believe they cheered for him. It's just sad.

    August 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
  50. Samantha,New Jersey

    Who cares if the terrorist has cancer? He killed 270 helpless people!!!!!!

    August 20, 2009 at 10:16 pm |
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