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CNBC: Released Lockerbie Bomber's 'Welcome Back' Could Have Implications for U.S. Business

Here’s a lesson in international affairs – the president’s handling of foreign policy can have a profound impact on American business.

Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of murdering 270 people when a bomb he planted on Pan-Am Flight 103 blew up over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, was released from prison with a terminal illness after serving eight years of a life sentence on Aug. 20.

CNBC “Street Signs” host Erin Burnett said there were reports that “thousands of people were there to greet” the released bomber. According to Burnett, this went against President Barack Obama’s wishes.

“President Obama this afternoon said he objected to letting that bomber go and that Libya should be sure the man is, quote, ‘Not welcomed back in some way,’ but should be under house arrest,” Burnett said. “Now keep in mind, Libya only won normal relations with America after admitting to the Pan-Am bombing and paying the families.”

The takeaway – if the Libyan government were somehow involved, the weak relationship between Libya and the United States government could be in peril and with that, U.S. access to Libya’s wealth of natural resources.

“If this situation goes south, U.S. big business has a lot to lose,” Burnett said. “Libya sits on the biggest oil reserve in Africa. It’s worked hard to get off the terror list and back in the global economy since the bombing.”

As Burnett explained, American companies have invested heavily in the northern Africa country. And Libya continues to actively recruit U.S. business to invest there as well.

“[T]here are big business deals at stake,” Burnett said. “There’s a construction project of American firm AECom we visited in Libya. It’s the single biggest infrastructure project for that company. Forty foreign oil companies are working in Libya, including all the American giants – Occidental, ExxonMobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips.”

However, according to CNBC, the immediate reaction to the convicted bomber’s arrival in Libya was a big story.

“You heard the president – he just said there, ‘There should be no welcome,’” Burnett said. “But thousands were greeting the convicted bomber. This is perhaps a very big story for business.”