Pan Am 103 – The Lockerbie Conspiracy – The CIA Theory

On Wednesday December 21st 1988 a Boeing 747-121 named Clipper Maid of the Seas was destroyed by a bomb.

Pan Am Flight 103 was a Pan American World Airway’s scheduled transatlantic flight, travelling from London’s Heathrow International Airport to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.


When the bomb exploded the fuselage of the plane was ripped apart, leading to the deaths of 243 passengers and 16 members of crew.

Additionally, the debris fell upon the town of Lockerbie in southern Scotland, causing 11 further fatalities on the ground.


Even though there has been a trial and conviction in the Lockerbie case, doubts still seem to remain in the minds of many people as to what really happened, who was responsible for the bombing, how the bomb was detonated and what motives the perpetrator(s) may have had.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi, a Libyan national, who was serving life in prison for the atrocity was released yesterday on compassionate grounds as he is suffering with terminal prostate cancer.

His alleged co-conspirator, Lamin Khalifah Fhimah, was found to be not guilty.

Since the original verdict on January 31st 2001 there has been one appeal dismissed and another is pending, likely to be heard in early 2009.

Whilst a level of uncertainty remains in the conviction of Megrahi, the conspiracy theorists continue to speculate as to what they believe may have really happened.

Here is one of many conspiracy theories that have gained a level of popularity amongst those who subscribe to such thoughts –


One of the many conspiracy theories suggests that that the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had set up a protected drug route from Europe to the United States.

Some people allege that this route was known as ‘Operation Corea’ and suggest that Syrian drug dealers, led by Monzer al-Kassar (who was involved with Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal) used it to ship heroin to the U.S.

These conspiracy theorists say that the American intelligence community then received intel on Palestinian groups based in Syria in exchange.

It is alleged that the CIA protected the suitcases containing the drugs and ensured they were not searched.

The theory suggests that on the day of the bombing a suitcase containing drugs was switched for the one that contained the bomb.


After the explosion debris fell on Lockerbie.

In the aftermath of the disaster two teenagers claim to have found over half a million dollars in travellers cheques.

A reporter, David Johnstone, reported on white powder being found in polythene bags.

Furthermore, Wikipedia reports that a mountain rescuer wash ushered away from a field containing a large tarpaulin.

Conspiracy theorists believe that the tarpaulin covered a container which they believe may have belonged to Major Charles McKee, belived to have been a special forces operative.

This particular theory continues by suggesting that the CIA allowed the alleged drugs and bomb to be switched because the protected drugs route was a rogue operation, and Maj. Charles McKee had found out about it, and was on his way to Washington to tell his superiors.


Personally, I think this particular theory sounds quite spurious but does it hold any truth for you?

Was a Libyan responsible for bombing Pan Am 103, or is there an alternative answer?

About Lee Munson

Lee's non-technical background allows him to write about internet security in a clear way that is understandable to both IT professionals and people just like you who need simple answers to your security questions.


  1. known the truth from the day after the event ,shocked at the time and disregarded, as though it was too crazy and absurd,thought about it intermittantly for last 10 years, bugged me for longer, the truth will soom come out v sad , it all could have been prevented,hard 2 beleive they let them die, how can u trust any more

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