The White House organized a conference call Tuesday night for families of the victims of the 1988 Lockerbie bombing – giving them direct access to U.S. and British officials amid questions over whether oil giant BP lobbied for the release of one of the Lockerbie bombers as the company sought oil contracts with Libya.
Americans are already angry at British-based BP over the Gulf Oil Spill. Allegations that the company lobbied for the release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al Megrahi last year in order to help secure a lucrative oil exploration deal with Libya, brought the nearly 22 year-old terror bombing back into the news just as new British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in Washington for policy meetings with President Barack Obama.
On Tuesday's call, convened by the National Security Council's Denis McDonough and attended by some 15 family members, was Tom Fletcher, personal secretary to Prime Minister David Cameron.
During the 25 minute call, Fletcher recapped Cameron's meetings with Congressional leaders and a group of concerned senators from New York and New Jersey who first raised the allegations.
A participant on the call tells ABC News that Fletcher reiterated Cameron's position that the release was the wrong decision. But he added that a high ranking official would review documents from previous governments to determine if BP lobbied for al Megrahi's release. The review will be conducted by Britain's most senior civilian official, Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell, since the prime minister is not allowed to look into files from previous governments.
BP has denied it lobbied for al Megrahi's release, and the British Foreign Secretary said in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over the weekend that his government saw no link between the British oil giant and the convicted bomber's release by Scottish authorities.
With Britain's largest company embroiled in a public relations nightmare in the Gulf, Fletcher sought to draw a distinction between the BP oil spill and the question over whether the company lobbied for al Megrahi's release.
The participant, Kara Weipz, whose brother was killed aboard the flight, told ABC News she didn't hear anything on the call that surprised her or broke any new ground.
"What happened last August was one of biggest injustices that can happen," she said. "All the stuff this past week was just as upsetting."
Still, she said that the fact the British government decided to reach out to victims' families like this was of some comfort.
Libyan-born al Megrahi was convicted of masterminding the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people, most of them American. He was sentenced to life in prison but was released and allowed to return to Libya last year on compassionate grounds after it was determined he had only three months left to live. Al Megrahi beat the prognosis and lives on, now free in Libya.