Flanked by family members of New Yorkers who died in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters yesterday that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder should investigate whether BP brokered an illegal deal to free bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi in exchange for access to Libyan oil fields. "No matter how powerful a corporation, how important a foreign government, a blood money deal is a blood money deal, and we must, must hold people accountable... BP wanted access to Libya's oil fields. Libya wanted Megrahi back. This hardly seems like a coincidence."

Schumer also proposed pursuing BP in court here in the U.S. "Because BP has huge amounts of assets in America, we can bring this case here whether the British government likes it or not,'' Schumer told reporters. "So this is a new route that allows us to act directly as opposed to simply putting pressure on the British government.'' Last week Schumer and three other senators asked the State Department to investigate whether there was a quid pro quo for the Lockerbie bomber's release. When Scotland released Megrahi to Libya last year, doctors said he would be dead from pancreatic cancer within months, but he's still living in luxury, and BP has secured a lucrative off-shore drilling contract with Libya.

Tomorrow Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron will visit Washington, and is expected to tell President Obama that Scotland's release of Megrahi was wrong. "All I know is, as leader of the opposition, I couldn't have been more clear," Cameron told the press yesterday. "He was convicted for being the biggest mass murderer in British history. I saw no case whatsoever for releasing him from prison. I've said that a year ago when we were told that he had three months to live."

But Cameron's spokesperson says, "On the issue of links between BP and the release of Megrahi, the Foreign Secretary has made very clear that there is no evidence to support these claims." Last week BP admitted to lobbying for a prisoner transfer agreement between the UK and Libya, but the company says they did not specifically lobby for Megrahi's release. Both Cameron and the British ambassador to the U.S. are blaming the debacle on Scotland's legal system, and insist their hands are tied. But four Senators, including Kirsten Gillibrand and Schumer, have sent Cameron a letter formally requesting a meeting with him during his visit. The full letter is pasted below:

The Right Honorable The Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury

10 Downing Street



United Kingdom

Dear Prime Minister,

We welcome you on your first visit to Washington, D.C. as the Prime Minister. We would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you while you are here.

We value the historic and close friendship and alliance between our two countries. Considering our many ties and common interests, we are certain you appreciate the considerable concern that we have that a terrorist convicted for the death of 270 people, most of them our countries’ citizens, continues to live in freedom and comfort eleven months after release because he was judged to be near death.

The discrepancy in Abdelbaset al-Megrahi’s life expectancy has brought back into focus the concerns that we and others expressed last year when he was released. We have read the reports of the correspondence between the former British government and the Scottish government with respect to negotiations with the Government of Lybia, particularly whether the Prisoner Transfer Agreement (PTA) would include Mr. al-Megrahi. We have also been dismayed to hear from a BP representative that the company actively lobbied the previous government on behalf of the PTA, and media reports suggest BP even tried to address the release of this individual.

Considering that you, likewise, raised concerns last year about the release, we hope to have the opportunity to speak to you about this matter, and what we can all do to provide greater transparency into the circumstances surrounding the release, address the injustice, and ensure that a similar mistake is not repeated.

We have been advised by Secretary of State Clinton that she has likewise requested your government to review the facts and circumstances leading to the release of al-Meghrahi. We believe that doing so is in the best interest of both of our countries and in the service of justice.

Again, we respectfully request to meet with you this week while you are in Washington.