Last week, CNN’s Nic Robertson reported that he had found Lockerbie bomber Abdel Bassett al-Megrahi, and that things weren’t looking so good for the convicted terrorist. Having tracked down his lavish Libyan compound, Robertson found al-Megrahi hooked-up to oxygen and IV, in a coma and apparently near death. “He appears to be just a shell of the man he was, far sicker than he was before,” Robertson reports from his bedside. And indeed, the footage of bedridden al-Megrahi did not look good. But is it really a story? Daily Beast editor Lloyd Grove is not so sure.
He wonders, today, if CNN’s exclusive might have been granted by al-Megrahi’s family with certain motivation, and whether al-Megrahi is “Dying or Faking?” The families and friends of Pan Am 103 victims he talked to seem to believe as much.
Frank Duggan, president of the nonprofit Victims of Pan Am 103 Inc., says that “The CNN ‘exclusive exposé’ that they discovered his hiding place was total bullshit.” He argues that al-Megrahi is not as sick as he is made out to be, and that his family is “trying to make a sympathetic character out of and unrepentant, murderous monster.” He also claims that Robertson did not have to track al-Megrahi down, and rather, that he was invited, as were several other news organizations. “Megrahi’s son was emailing all this information to the Libya shills in England and Scotland,” he tells Grove. “I don’t believe CNN, and I certainly don’t believe SkyNews, who reported that Megrahi had died last year.”
Kathy Tedeschi, who was widowed in the crash, is equally dubious. “The reporter is climbing up and looking all over the place, and waiting a long time before the family let him in,” she noticed. “That’s plenty of time to set the stage.”
While acknowledging the possibility that the scene might have been set, Robertson remains confident as to what he saw and reported. “Not being a doctor, not doing proper medical checks, you cannot sort of say with a hundred percent certainty his real state of health here,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Monday night. But, for Robertson, the fact remains: “I saw Megrahi two years ago … He looked much better back then than he does now.”
And so Robertson was reporting the situation as he saw it, just as a reporter wont do, and maybe al-Megrahi is actually near death — nearer, even, than two years ago when he was released from jail under the assumption that he had only a few moths left to live. Grove seems to be arguing, though, that to continue reporting on al-Megrahi’s near death goes only to serve al-Megrahi, as there is a much more powerful story to be gotten from the man. As another victim, quoted in Lloyd’s piece, says, “There’s a treasure trove of information there and we ought to be focused on finding out who else was involved in Lockerbie.”
Watch Robertson’s report from CNN below:
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