Via Mediaite. I’m guessing the answer is no, for the simple reason that The One gets nothing from doing so except a pounding political headache. Why would he okay it given the suspicions that he’s soft on terror?

A better question: If he didn’t sign off, do the Brits have little so esteem for him that they’d do the deal anyway? Frum wonders.

We do know that the British kept the U.S. briefed well enough for American diplomats to protest the looming U.K./Scottish decision. At the same time, we read in the British press that U.S. officials indicated that they preferred a humanitarian release to a prisoner transfer.

Those reports raise further questions:

Exactly how vigorously did the Obama administration protest? Why did those protests produce so little result? Do British/Scots feel so little regard for the new Obama administration that they ignore its strong complaints? Or were complaints possibly less than strong? After all, a complaint in the form, “We don’t want you to do X, but if you must do X, we prefer that you do it in the following way…” does not constitute a very resounding warning.

If the U.S. complaints about the decision to release were as weak as reported, why were they so weak? Many in the intelligence community have long doubted that the Libyans were in fact responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. Serious people have argued for 20 years that the attack originated in Syria and Iran. Does Secretary of State Hillary Clinton share those doubts?

Remember, the Scots reportedly promised the Clinton administration that Megrahi would do his time in Scotland, a fact evidently not pressed upon them by our first lady turned secretary of state. Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer very stupidly is demanding sanctions against Britain if the reports of an oil deal being behind Megrahi’s release prove true; expect him to tone it down after The One reminds him that (a) the less attention the media pays to this story, the better, and (b) given Britain’s anxiousness to get out of Afghanistan, the U.S. is in no position to be making any unfriendly gestures these days. In fact, maybe that’s the answer: How could Obama pound the table about Megrahi when reports about the need for more troops in Afghanistan are all over the news? We have no leverage. Advantage: Britain.

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