Sabotage With An ISIS Twist
An American Airlines mechanic was charged in July with sabotage. He was supposedly just a pissed off guy who was angry about working conditions and union issues. When we first saw the story, we took note of the incident and waited for the investigation to come full circle. Investigators learned that he has an ISIS connection.
Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, 60, was charged with one count of sabotage after he claimed that he disabled the airplane to get overtime hours in his paycheck. He is a naturalized citizen from Iraq. He was due to be arraigned on Friday, September 20.
On July 17, an American airlines flight carrying 150 passengers from Miami to Nassau was halted by the pilot when a warning light came on as they were still on the runway. The pilot grounded the flight and passengers were transferred to another plane to continue their journey. No one was injured.
Your Tango noted,
When crew checked the affected components, they discovered that a piece of foam had been inserted into the module to obstruct the system and a tube had been loosened. In a previous flight that day, the aircraft had had no safety problems except a lightbulb that needed replacing. The affected portion of the plane systems monitor “speed, pitch, and other critical flight data,” as noted in court documents about the case.
The plane’s navigation system was affected- had they taken off, they would have had to fly the plane manually. Alani generally worked on disabled planes, not ones that were on the flight line. Surveillance footage clearly showed him accessing the plane. Because he has a noticeable limp, he was easily identified. He admitted to sabotaging the plane, and a criminal complaint was filed by Federal authorities.
But Alani’s coworkers told authorities that his brother is a member of ISIS. And investigators found ISIS videos on his cell phone. The charge has not been amended at this time, but U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris McAliley was prompted to keep Alani in jail until his trial because of the ties to ISIS. No bail.
“What you did was at minimum highly reckless, it was unconscionable…I have evidence before me that suggests you could be sympathetic to terrorists.” Judge Chris McAliley
The Miami Herald reported,
“At his detention hearing, prosecutors said that since his arrest investigators with the FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force have learned that Alani lied about taking a trip to Iraq in March to visit his brother, and that he told a fellow American Airlines employee in June that his brother had been kidnapped and was a member of the extremist Islamic group known as ISIS.
Prosecutors also said Alani allowed the FBI to search his smartphone and agents found a “disturbing” ISIS video in which a person was being shot in the head, and that he sent the video to someone with an Arabic message asking “Allah” to take revenge against non-Muslims. In addition, they said Alani sent $700 to someone in Iraq, where he was born and has family.
Prosecutor Maria Medetis told the judge that when federal investigators questioned Alani after his arrest on Sept. 5, he told them he had an “evil side” and that he “wanted to do something to delay” the plane “to get overtime” for maintenance repairs. After putting in a double shift on July 17, he actually did some overtime work on the disabled plane. On average, he made $9,400 a month as an American mechanic.”
Alani’s mechanic license has been revoked, and he was fired from American Airlines upon his arrest. He was hired by American Airlines in spite of the fact that Alaska Airlines had fired him ten years prior for “substandard maintenance work.” He currently faces one count of sabotage that carries a potential 20 year prison sentence.
Featured photo: screenshot of court artist’s rendering of Alani’s first appearance and criminal complaint