OTR Interviews

Bolton: Convicted Lockerbie Bomber, Qaddafi Should Be Sent to U.S. to Face Justice

What does the fall of Qaddafi mean for the quest for justice for victims of the Lockerbie bombing?


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," August 22, 2011. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Right now, the rebels in Libya want justice. But what about Americans? Will Americans get justice? Remember Pan Am 103? Four days before Christmas 1988, 38 minutes into flight from London, headed to New York, 259 innocent people blown up, murdered over Lockerbie, Scotland -- mothers, fathers, children, college students and more. Libya did it. It was their plan. They executed it. One Libyan killer was later caught, tried, convicted and sent to prison in Scotland. We thought it was for life. And then another injustice! Scotland lets him go, sends him back to Libya, where he gets the unthinkable, a hero's welcome. So now what?

Joining us is former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton. Ambassador, do I -- is it fair game to bring this topic into the Libya discussion about the unrest there and the possible overthrow of Qaddafi? Is this a relevant part of the story?

JOHN BOLTON, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR/FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO THE U.N.: Oh, absolutely. I think the United States should insist that Megrahi be sent to the United States. Part of the deal that was cut during the Clinton administration in 1999 was that Libya would fully cooperate with the Scottish investigation, and they clearly did not.

So I think whatever deal we had was voided by the Libyans. There were 189 Americans killed on Pan Am 103. So I'd bring him to this country.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did we get -- when he was tried in Scotland, did we make any agreements where we would later go after Qaddafi on this, or after him if he ever got out? Was there any sort of -- any impediment to us now getting justice?

BOLTON: I don't think so. I think we did make a lot of concessions. Just by agreeing that he would be tried under Scottish law, we gave up the death penalty. And in fact, even worse, Kofi Anan, the secretary general of the United Nations, sent a letter to Qaddafi, countersigned by representatives of Britain and the United States, that the Scottish investigation -- and here's the key phrase -- would not undermine the government of Libya.

Well, how outrageous! The order to blow up Pan Am 103 ultimately had to have come from Qaddafi. So there's no double jeopardy problem there. Before Qaddafi gets tried by the Libyans or by the International Criminal Court, we ought to have him sent to the United States, too.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ambassador, I don't think we have the whole story on this one. I mean, the fact that he was released by Scotland for compassionate reasons because he had a medical condition, which he -- he's living happily ever after right now in Libya, you know, is that there must have been something -- I smell a rat.

BOLTON: Well, there's no doubt...

VAN SUSTEREN: Why didn't -- why -- where's the rat? Because they shouldn't have released this guy.

BOLTON: British Petroleum. The British wanted more oil leases in Libya. They have been trying to increase their commercial ties with Libya for years. And I think there was, in effect, a quid pro quo. And I think everybody knew it. I think the Scottish government's argument that this was compassionate release is just utterly hypocritical. They violated their agreement with the United States that Megrahi would stay in prison. That was part of our condition to give up the death penalty. So I think Britain's in violation, too. And it's just outrageous!

VAN SUSTEREN: Why do we just -- I mean, I cannot believe that we don't have diplomatic muscle with Scotland, with Britain that we could be - - that we could have this double-dealing going on, whatever it may be, that we couldn't have stopped that and we just sat there looking at it while we have these 259...

BOLTON: No, it's worse.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... murdered.

BOLTON: It's worse. There were press reports that the U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom, when told Megrahi was going to be released, said, basically, We understand the need for this. And if you calculate 270 dead, 259 on the plane, 11 on the ground, it worked out that Megrahi spent about two months in prison per murder victim.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know what? You know, if -- if our leaders had only talked to some of these victims's families -- I mean, I remember one night recently talking to the brother of one of the -- of one of the men who died on the plane. He wasn't supposed to be on that plane. He stayed an extra day to work, so he got on that plane. There are always those stories.

He said his brother always got on a business class and got a Scotch. And he could just sort of envision him having a Scotch, flying on that plane 30 minutes out of London and then blowing up, not to mention all the college students. I mean, you know, it's beyond me that our government could just sort of sit there and go, Whatever.

BOLTON: No. It's -- for people who complain about airport security, just think about those poor people on Pan Am 103 falling out of sky from 30,000 feet. Just think about what that would be like if you don't like the inspections at the airport.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know what? It's, like, the -- I don't like -- I have a little problem with some security once in a while, but what I don't like is that the government -- our government was so weak and -- in light of what happened here. Well, maybe there -- maybe this'll be our chance. He'll go back to jail. Who knows. Whatever. Ambassador, thank you, sir.

BOLTON: Thank you.