Ex-MI6 spy at center of Lockerbie prisoner release deal

Sir Mark Allan

Sir Mark Allan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A British former intelligence official has been identified as having had a major role in the recent release from a Scottish prison of a Libyan intelligence agent convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103.  Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who is now back home in Tripoli, was released by British authorities on August 19 on compassionate grounds, after medical tests allegedly showed he is suffering from terminal cancer. Many observers, including former CIA agent Robert Baer, voiced suspicion about the reasons behind al-Megrahi’s release, while several British newspapers, including The London Times, alleged that the release was part of a lucrative oil exploration deal between British Petroleum (BP) and the Libyan government. Now The Sunday Mail has identified Sir Mark Allen, a former senior intelligence official who works for BP, as “the driving force” behind al-Megrahi’s release. Sir Mark left MI6, Britain’s foremost external intelligence organization, in 2004, after his rumored promotion to director of MI6 failed to materialize. Prior to his resignation, he had been personally involved in secret negotiations between MI6, CIA and Libyan intelligence to end international sanctions against Libya in return for the verifiable termination of the country’s nuclear program. Upon leaving MI6, Sir Mark used his relationship with Libyan government officials, which he had cultivated during his long intelligence career, to land a £200,000 ($330,000)-a-year job with BP. During secret negotiations about al-Megrahi’s release, conducted in the shadow of the BP oil exploration deal worth up to £15 billion ($24.5 billion), it was Sir Mark who called British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw twice, to impress upon him the “importance” of satisfying Tripoli’s demand for al-Megrahi’s return to Libya.

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Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

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