Tremors Over Lockerbie

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It's official: The U.S., at least, is reversing its 10-year-old policy on Lockerbie and Libya. State Department spokesman James Rubin went on the record late Tuesday over the plan to allow a trial for the two Libyan suspects in the Netherlands -- and confirmed, as TIME Daily reported, that this was an attempt to "call Ghadafi's bluff." But it appears that State was caught off-guard by the timing of the original report in the English newspaper the Guardian, confirming it while officials in London were still sticking to the original script: Trial in Scotland or the U.S. only. For the first time since Lockerbie, the U.S. and Britain seemed out of step.

The early announcement also upset many relatives of the 270 people who died aboard Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988. "This idea opens a Pandora's box, and they just want to dump the sanctions," said Susan Cohen after speaking with Madeleine Albright and Sandy Berger. And with none of the logistics of conducting a Scottish trial in The Hague worked out, even President Clinton seemed skeptical: "We're looking at it but I don't know that it can be done," he said. Memo to State: Next time, make sure everyone's on the same page.