WASHINGTON (AP) - The Obama administration said Thursday it regrets Scotland's decision to release the Libyan man convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 people.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the United States had repeatedly asked Scotland to keep Abdel Baset al-Megrahi in custody. Gibbs said: "On this day, we extend our deepest sympathies to the families who live every day with the loss of their loved ones."
The State Department released a brief statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is on vacation, saying she is "deeply disappointed" by the decision to release al-Megrahi.
" We have continued to communicate our long-standing position to UK government officials and Scottish authorities that Megrahi should serve out the entirety of his sentence in Scotland," Clinton said.
Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said the order to release al-Megrahi grew out of the convicted bomber's deteriorating health. He has prostate cancer and is not expected to live much longer.
He had served only eight years of a life sentence in Scotland for the December 21, 1988, bombing over the town of Lockerbie.
(This version CORRECTS SUBS lead to correct to Obama administration.)