A Richmond man credited with linking Libya to the 1988 bombing of downing of Pan Am flight 103 says the death of Moammar Gaddafi may bring closure to the victims’ families. Former FBI agent Tom Thurman’s investigation connected a small piece of circuit board found at the crash site in Lockerbie, Scotland to Libya. 270 people on the jet and on the ground were killed. Now, almost 23 years later, Thurman says Gaddafi’s death could be an ‘emotional ending point’ for victims’ families. And the E-K-U professor of Fire Safety says the threat of terrorism directed from Libya is probably less likely.
“You don’t have that figurehead pulling the strings and having things done and getting revenge for what perceptions and beliefs that this individual has had in the past,” said Thurman.
Since the downing of Pan Am 103, much has been done to strengthen airline travel safety and help protect it from terrorist acts. Still, Thurman says no airline security system is fool proof.
“There will be holes… because mankind if you will is not fallible …I just hope that when the hole is there….they don’t take advantage of that and it’s closed before that the terrorists take that advantage,” added Thurman.
Thurman cites the so called ‘shoe bomber’ and ‘underwear bomber’ as two examples of more recent airline focused terrorism attempts. When the death of a well known terrorist like Gaddafi occurs, Thurman says there always seems to be someone ready to take his place.