When this story first broke several weeks ago, my first instinct was one of sheer skepticism. No doubt because of the recent 18th year anniversary of 9/11 combined with the airline mechanics name, who allegedly disabled the aircraft’s navigation system on a flight scheduled to take off from Miami because he wanted additional overtime.
According to the Miami Herald, the early warning systems within the aircraft alerted pilots on Flight 2834 bound for Nassau that something within the aircraft posed an immediate danger, preventing American Airlines from taking off on July 17th with over 150 passengers on board.
After an extensive investigation airline authorities zeroed in on airline mechanic Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, who quickly confessed to the deed. He provided investigators with an initial statement back in July telling arresting officers he had an “evil side” prosecutors had concluded that the naturalized American citizen from Iraq, posed a danger to passengers.
After investigators uncovered the Muslim mechanic had Islamist sympathies and allegedly displayed support for ISIS by making statements and wishing Allah would use “divine powers,” to harm non-Muslims.
According to prosecutors the 60-year old mechanic also had a number of ISIS videos on his cellphone which he shared with FBI agents searching his home. One of the videos shows a person being shot in the head, according to prosecutors.
Federal investigators have also noted that Alani lied about taking a trip to Iraq in March to visit his brother, also there’s a wire transfer of $700 sent to someone living in Iraq, as yet unidentified.
Alani allegedly told an American Airlines co-worker in June his brother was kidnapped and became a member of the terrorist organization.
During his bail hearing, prosecutors informed the judge that Alani sabotaged the aircraft by gluing Styrofoam inside the nose of the plane, disabling an important piece of equipment used for gauging airspeed and other critical flight data. Luckily the sabotage was detected before the airliner took off.
Alani, who walks with a decisive limp appeared on airport surveillance and security video working on the compromised aircraft for about 7-minutes, co-workers have easily identified him.
After his arrest in June Alani told agents he acted “out of my evil side” and “wanted to do something to delay” the plane “to get overtime” for maintenance repairs, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Medetis asked the judge not to set bail.
The judge said that Alani’s ability to travel abroad factored into her decision agreeing with Medetis not to set bail, adding that “it is likely you will be convicted.”
Alani prior to working at American Airlines as a mechanic also worked for Alaska Airlines over a decade ago and was fired for a series of performance issues.
Alani had been with American since 1988 and simultaneously worked for Alaska from 1998 until he was fired in 2008 after several maintenance mistakes, some that led to Federal Aviation Administration investigations, according to court documents from an unsuccessful discrimination lawsuit Alani filed that Business Insider obtained.
His mechanic’s license was also briefly suspended by the FAA, according to the court documents.
This latest mishap concerning someone with perhaps ties to Muslim extremists and the airliners inability to properly screen their employees, especially after honoring the memory of those 3,000 lives lost on 9/11, should shock us all.
American Airlines indeed all the airlines are ignoring basic security screening techniques out if an abundance of caution concerning targeting certain groups.
However like it or not, those techniques we once referenced as “profiling” actually save lives, and will hopefully prevent another 9/11 in the future. This incident was a wake-up call for airlines to be more proactive with those individuals that come into direct contact with planes.