The Defection of Moussa Koussa


In the late 1970s, the Libyan government of Col. Muammar Qaddafi was openly stalking and murdering regime opponents abroad. After two opposition activists were murdered on the streets of London, the head of Libya's diplomatic mission in the United Kingdom was forthright with a reporter from the London Times: "[We plan] to kill two more people in the United Kingdom…I approve of this." The official was apologetic, telling the reporter that ''We don't like breaking the law here, but we are fighting these people because they worked against our revolution." He was expelled to Tripoli the following day.

Upon returning to Libya, he headed up something called the "World Centre for Resistance to Imperialism, Zionism, Racism, Reaction, and Fascism," despite his government's open funding of racist and fascist groups, like Britain's National Front and various neo-Nazi organizations in Italy. Later, he would take over as head Libyan intelligence and be implicated in both the Lockerbie and UTA flight 772 atrocities. In 2001, the London Times reported that MI6 had "obtained details of a 'summit' meeting in 1995" in which he spoke about the Lockerbie bombing in "terms which indicated that [Libyan intelligence] had carried it out." The late Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy demanded that the United State government be allowed to question him, saying that all evidence suggested that "he should be able to provide a significant amount of information" on Libyan support and suborning of terrorism.

Now Moussa Koussa, who doesn't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, has fled Libya, returning to the country that expelled him thirty years ago. Initial reports suggest that Koussa, a potential intelligence bonanza for the West, will not be offered immunity from prosecution (Scottish prosecutors have already moved to interview him about the Lockerbie bombing), though it is unclear what kind of deal the United Kingdom broker with him—British Foreign Secretary William Hague told reporters that Koussa has been his government's "channel of communication" to the Qaddafi regime for the past "few weeks."

So how did the British manage to draw a crook like Koussa from Tripoli to London, without a promise of immunity? With threats that he too would be targeted by NATO war planes? Often overlooked in news stories about his Rudolf Hess-like defection to the U.K. is that British and American intelligence have had considerable dealings with Koussa in the recent past; he was led the delegation that handed over the Libyan WMD program back in 2003.