[This is the headline over a report (behind the paywall) in today’s edition of The Times. It reads as follows:]
Scottish prosecutors are poised to announce a breakthrough in their investigation into the Lockerbie bomb plot.
They believe they have identified a group of Libyans who were involved along with Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the only man convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 which killed 270 people in December 1988.
Frank Mulholland, the lord advocate, has agreed a joint course of action with Loretta Lynch, the US attorney-general. They have requested permission from the Libyan authorities to travel there with a view to interviewing the suspects as soon as the political situation on the ground allows it.
The move follows a six-year investigation undertaken after al-Megrahi dropped his appeal against conviction in August 2009 and was released by the Scottish government on compassionate grounds to return to Libya. He died there in 2012 from prostate cancer.
It is the first time the Crown Office, which always stressed that the Lockerbie inquiry remains “live,” has confirmed that members of the group that planned and helped carry out the bombing were still alive and in Libya.
Last month The Times reported that an American TV documentary was naming several suspects. Ken Dornstein, whose brother died in the bombing, was responsible for the three-part series aired on the US Public Broadcasting Service.
After a 25-year investigation, he claimed to have identified the bomb-maker as Abu Agila Mas’ud, who is being held in a Libyan prison, accused of unrelated terrorist activities.
Another suspect, Abdullah al-Senussi, Colonel Gaddafi’s brother-in-law and head of intelligence, is also behind bars in Libya, sentenced to death.
Mr Dornstein told The Times that he believed Nasser Ali Ashour, a Libyan intelligence officer who supplied the IRA with explosives and weaponry in the 1980s, was also a suspect.
It is not known whether any of these are among the suspects the Scottish and US authorities wish to interview. The crown office refused to confirm or deny whether they were on the list.
[A response by John Ashton to Ken Dornstein’s findings can be read here.]