On This Day — US Staff in Moscow Warned to Avoid PAN AM 103 (December 13 1988) [2019]

“There was a real push in the embassy community to make sure that everybody was aware that there had been a terrorist threat made, and that people flying Western carriers going through Frankfurt should change their tickets.”

Karen Decker — Consular Official at the Moscow US Embassy (November 30 1989)

On December 13 1988, William Kelly, the Moscow US embassy administrative counsellor, drafted a memo addressed to “All Embassy Personnel” and posted on the staff notice board the next day. “Sometimes, during the next two weeks, there would be a bombing attempt against Pan Am airliner flying from Frankfurt to the United States.” On December 21 1988, Pan Am 103 — a regularly scheduled Pan Am transatlantic flight from Frankfurt to Detroit via London and New York — exploded over Lockerbie. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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On December 5 1988, a man speaking with an Arabic accent telephoned the US Embassy in Helsinki, Finland.

The informant said that a Pan Am flight from Frankfurt to the United States would be blown up within the next two weeks.

On December 13 1988, William Kelly, the Moscow US embassy administrative counsellor, drafted a memo addressed to “All Embassy Personnel”.

The memo was  posted on the staff notice board the next day.

“Post has been notified by the FAA that on Dec. 5 1988, an unidentified individual telephoned an US diplomatic facility in Europe and stated hat sometimes during the next two weeks there would be a bombing attempt against Pan Am airliner flying from Frankfurt to the United States.

The FAA report that the reliability of the information cannot be assessed at this point, but the appropriate police authorities have been notified and are pursuing the matter.

Pan Am also has been notified. In view of the lack of confirmation of this information, post leaves to the discretion of individual travellers any decisions on altering personal travel plans or changing to another American carrier.

This does not absolve the traveller from flying an American carrier.”

On December 21 1988, Pan Am 103 exploded over Lockerbie. Pan Am 103A — its feeder flight — originated from Frankfurt.

The FBI had concluded that the warning was dismissed as a hoax. “The culprit had done it to impress his girlfriend.”

Actually, the hoaxer was never indicted because sufficient evidence could not be assembled.

If there was not enough evidence to indict, let alone convict, Samra Mahayou for the hoax, where was the evidence to dismiss the warning as one?

The “Missing Data”

Francis J. “Frank” Duggan (April 15 1938 – November 1 2017) was a US lawyer and federal official who spent years as an advocate on behalf of families of the victims of Pan Am Flight 103.

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Duggan once sent me an email regarding the Helsinki warning. Let us consider carefully his central concluding statement.

“At the end of the Commission findings, you will see that we looked at the total history of passenger bookings for Pan Am 103 and they were the same for years. No one was warned off the plane.”

Since the warning was posted on December 14 1988, I would expect that diplomatic personnel in Moscow would have rebooked their flight on December 15 1988.

Thus, one should see a significant decrease in the number of seats booked on both Pan Am 103/A and Pan Am 103.

What does the PCAST report reveal about these key numbers?

Unfortunately, nothing. The data for this day — and only this day — are simply missing!

Again, only a child will believe this!

President Ronald Reagan comments on PAN AM 103 plane crash that carried some Americans  

Reagan is obviously at pain to explain why NOTHING was done about the Helsinki warning.

The US President is also asked why the civilians — unlike the US diplomats in Moscow — were NOT told about the Helsinki warning.


A warning of a terrorist attack was broadly circulated to Americans in Moscow a week before the December 1988 explosion of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

“It named a carrier {Pan Am}. It named a route {Frankfurt to the United States}. And it covered a time period” when many Americans in Moscow would be going home for Christmas, Smith said. “Here, it seems to me we have a moral obligation to let people know.”

The warning was posted Dec. 14 at a number of places, including the embassy’s press office, the commercial office frequented by American businessmen, the U.S. Information Service where students congregate, the Anglo-American school, and a bulletin board at the entrance to the cafeteria in the new U.S. Embassy complex.

Jennifer S. Young, who was Pan Am station manager in Moscow, said a reservations clerk told her of the posting. Young, in turn, sent a telex to Pan Am officials in Frankfurt asserting that “approximately 80 percent” of Pan Am’s holiday traffic from the embassy was “now rebooking” to other flights.

Also, notice that a journalist already suggested that Iran had a role in the tragedy at a time where no evidence of a bombing had been found and mechanical failure was suspected.


Diary of a Vengeance Foretold


On This Day — US Staff in Moscow Warned to Avoid PAN AM 103 (December 13 1988)

On This Day — US Staff in Moscow Warned to Avoid PAN AM 103 (December 13 1988) [2019]

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