Laborites Suspect a Cover-Up

From Times Wire Services

Britain’s opposition Labor Party said Sunday that it suspects a cover-up by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s government in the bombing of a Pan Am jumbo jet after new revelations about a warning letter that was sent too late.

The government admitted Sunday that a letter dated Dec. 19--two days before the crash--was not sent to airlines until early January. A Transport Department spokesman said it was delayed because color photographs of a suspect radio-cassette recorder seized by West Germany had to be prepared.

The disclosure prompted new demands for a statement by Transport Secretary Paul Channon or a public inquiry into the bombing, which killed 270 people, and its aftermath.

Channon said Thursday that the letter was not sent out until “some days” after Dec. 19. His department’s statement on Sunday appeared to be an admission the delay was even longer.


Some newspapers said the Dec. 19 letter contained details that could have helped spot the bomb. “It all adds to the suspicion of confusion and cover-up,” Byran Gould, a Labor spokesman, said.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Express reported that the man who made the bomb that blew up the Pan Am flight and plotted the attack is a Libyan known to international security officials as “The Professor” because of his experience with explosives.

The London newspaper attributed its information to unidentified detectives and did not identify the suspect by name. It also repeated earlier reports that a Lebanese student, 21-year-old Khalid Jaafar, of Dearborn, Mich., unwittingly carried the bomb onto the flight in a radio-cassette player given to him as a gift.