Lockerbie Lawyer Attacks Air Security
Security at one of the airports linked to the Lockerbie bombing has been described as lax by a lawyer for one of the men accused of the blast, according to a BBC.online report.
Jack Davidson, QC, told the trial of the two Libyans in the Netherlands that security at Frankfurt Airport had been poor at the time of the bombing
He said a US Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) inspection had strongly criticized Pan Am security at the airport months after a bomb exploded on Pan Am Flight 103 on 21st December, 1988, killing 270 people.
Quoting an FAA report dated 23rd May, 1989, he said: "This situation is Pan Am 103 waiting to happen all over again. It is my opinion that US citizens are at risk when they fly out of this airport."
The Libyans have been accused of planting the bomb on Air Malta flight KM 180 to Frankfurt with tags routing it through London onto the Pan Am jet.
The prosecution has alleged that the men worked for the Libyan state airline in Malta and were agents of Libyan intelligence apparatus.
However, the Libyans have entered a "special defense" blaming Palestinian terrorists.
Davidson said that in January 1989 undercover FAA officers had been able to rummage unchallenged through Pan Am luggage containers at Frankfurt Airport and wander among parked aircraft and unguarded baggage with no visible identity cards.
Continuing to quote from the report, he said: "In summation it is apparent that drastic measures must be taken to ensure that Pan Am conforms to even minimum requirements."
Former Pan Am security director Martin Huebner played down the report under defense cross-examination, said the BBC.
"The FAA made several criticisms which in my view were somewhat exaggerated. Efforts were made...to react correspondingly," he said.
Huebner also said the FAA had inspected and approved Frankfurt's X-ray transfer system in 1998.
But prosecution counsel, Alan Turnbull, QC, emphasized what he said was the plausibility of the bomb being sent from abroad with the intention of fooling Frankfurt's X-ray system.
He cited Pan Am memos voicing concern at the system in which baggage could be transferred between flights even if its owner did not show up for the connection, so long as it had been X-rayed.
Turnbull also drew attention to international security warnings circulated in 1988 about hi-tech altitude-triggered bombs hidden in Toshiba radio cassette recorders in a way apparently designed to fool airport security systems.
Forensic experts were quoted by the BBC as saying last month they believed the bomb that destroyed flight 103 had been hidden in a Toshiba unit – Albawaba.com
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