1988 Terrorist Attack on Pan Am Flight 103

opinion Essay
1320 words
1320 words

It has been widely accepted from media depiction of terrorist attacks, that they normally occur in the streets of some Middle Eastern town, within a war-torn over ran village seized by a drug cartel, on a train or discotheque in Europe, or somewhere other than in the sky. As stated within The National Counterterrorism Center: Report on Terrorism (2011), traditional or well know tactics account for some 80% of all attacks, terrorist attacks directed toward airlines or air vehicles are less than 2%. For this reason many such threats are discounted or its relevance to put resources toward investigating. Prior to the attack on Pan Am Flight 103, intelligence data received was disseminated however, no high level officials were directly involved in the security measures required to thwart the event. December 21, 1988 was a day when the consequences of complacency would be felt by the nation.
On December 21, 1988 a civilian airliner exploded over the small town of Lockerbie, located in the Dumfries and Galloway region of southwest Scotland. Aboard were civilians representing 21 different countries; 189 those being from the United States. In all, 270 people lost their lives that day; 259 passengers and crew members and 11 killed on the ground. Because of the altitude, speed, and weather over the region that day, aircraft parts and bodies were scattered over a 2000 square kilometer area. According to The CIA Report: “Terrorist Bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 2012)”, months after the plane crash and end of the formal recovery effort, a piece of scorched shirt was discovered. The piece contained a fragment of circuit board that the heat of the explosion had fused into the shirt’s polyester fabric. The organizers, resource suppliers,...

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...t full proof, it’s not a guarantee, and it is the right step in the right direction.

Works Cited

Greenspan, Jesse (2013, December 20). Remembering the 1988 Lockerbie Bombing. Retrieved from
Rabbitte, Eimear (28 April 2014). Sheridan to direct Lockerbie attack film. Retrieved from
The National Counterterrorism Center. Report on Terrorism (2011). Retrieved from
The Pan Am 103 Crash Website. The Victims of Pan Am 103 (2002). Retrieved from
The Washington Post. Security Rules Tightened for U.S. Airlines Abroad (1988) Retrieved from

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that terrorist attacks usually occur in middle eastern towns, war-torn villages, or on trains or discotheques in europe. the national counterterrorism center reports that traditional or well-known tactics account for 80% of attacks.
  • Describes how a civilian airliner exploded over lockerbie on december 21, 1988. 270 people lost their lives, 259 passengers and crew members and 11 killed on the ground.
  • Explains that the organizers or those held responsible for the downing of flight 103 is mystery, although 2 lebanese men, abdelbaset al-megrahi, a libyan intelligence officer, and lamin khalifa
  • Analyzes how muammar gaddafi's letter was read to the united nations security council in 2003. his tone was an expression of how he felt for the 1980’s united states attacks in the gulf of sidra.
  • Explains that the samsonite suitcase carrying the semtex plastic explosive was purchased from malta and transported to frankfurt, germany, where it was loaded onto pan am flight 103.
  • Narrates how the united states embassy in helsinki received a call from an anonymous man, who claimed to have an arabic accent, providing detailed information about the imminent threat. due to its authenticity, special measures were taken; special screening of passengers, luggage, employee, airport facilities and the aircraft itself.
  • Opines that it was possible for any "one" person to survive the 31,000 thousand foot plunge. the reaction from the bombing was devastating to the families, communities, and schools.
  • Explains that the united states enacted stringent rules such as x-raying or physically examining all checked baggage and increase screening of passengers.
  • Explains that the united states was ill prepared to handle the families and friends of victims. the government recognized the effects of a sudden loss of loved ones and the long lasting torture.
  • Opines that the bombing of pan am flight 103 on 21 december 1988 was well financed, well planned and well executed. the motivation of the terrorist rarely equates in the minds of victims.
  • Cites greenspan, jesse, and rabbitte, eimear. sheridan to direct lockerbie attack film.
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