Magazine article Newsweek

Why One Defendant Got Off: Did the CIA and FBI Botch the Case?

Magazine article Newsweek

Why One Defendant Got Off: Did the CIA and FBI Botch the Case?

Article excerpt

Abdul Majid Giakawas expected to be a star witness when the Lockerbie trial began last spring. An ex-Libyan intelligence officer and a CIA informant, Giaka claimed to know of the two defendants' access to explosives. He said he had seen them handling a suitcase like the one containing the bomb a few days before the explosion. But when Giaka finally took the witness stand last fall, he proved a disaster for prosecutors. U.S. intelligence sources say Giaka's poor credibility was probably the main reason that the judges decided to declare one Lockerbie defendant, Al Amin Khalifa Fhimah, not guilty. Now some relatives of Lockerbie victims are outraged that the U.S. government may have botched part of the case by putting too much faith in its star witness.

Giaka's claims quickly unraveled under defense questioning. Prodded by three Scottish law lords hearing the case, the CIA was forced to declassify dozens of reports portraying Giaka as a money-grubbing hustler and a liar. …

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