The FBI questioned the father of a Lebanese-born man killed in the crash of a Pan Am airliner over Scotland about reports his son unwittingly carried a bomb that destroyed the plane, the father said.
Newspapers in Washington and London have quoted unidentified sources as saying Khalid Jaafar, 21, of suburban Detroit may have carried the bomb in his luggage without knowing it.His father, Nazir Jaafar, who filed a $50 million suit against Pan Am on Thursday, said two FBI agents questioned him Friday about reports that members of his family believed someone may have placed the bomb in his son's luggage.
Jaafar said Friday he told the FBI agents he had no idea where the report came from and that the agents told him they had no leads, either.
"They haven't found anybody who made that statement," he said. "They also said they have no evidence against my son. They didn't have any indication he was involved."
He said his son did not check any luggage at the airport and carried only two bags, both onto the plane with him. "There were no packages, no briefcases," Jaafar said.
He said he knows this because he telephoned a friend of his son's in Frankfurt immediately after hearing about the son's death and was told by the friend that no one gave Jaafar any packages to take with him.
"Nobody sent anything with him," Jaafar said. "I know (the friend) and his family. They are nice people."
Jaafar said his son was also smart enough to avoid being used by terrorists. "He was very careful, very careful," Jaafar said.
The FBI's Detroit office declined to comment on the reports about the younger Jaafar, as did a spokesman on duty Saturday at FBI headquarters in Washington.
The Boeing 747, bound from London to New York, exploded and crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland, Dec. 21. All 259 people aboard Flight 103 were killed and 11 others on the ground are presumed dead.
On Thursday, Jaafar filed a $50 million lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Detroit, accusing Pan Am of "carelessness and negligence" in the crash.
The suit, which seeks $15 million in actual damages and $35 million in punitive damages, contends the airline knew of a threat to blow up a plane but withheld news of the danger from the public.
On Thursday, Jaafar said the report that his son may have had a role in the crash "shocks me more than my son's death. It's false, fabricated. Nobody from the family would say such a stupid thing."
Thursday's editions of The Washington Times quoted an unidentified relative of Khalid Jaafar as saying the young man had been living in Frankfurt, West Germany, with several other Lebanese expatriates who may have alerted terrorists about his planned trip home to Detroit on Flight 103.
Several British papers reported Saturday that the FBI was investigating whether the young man may have been the unwitting carrier of the bomb.