Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Abdul Alani: Had ISIS Videos on Cell Phone Say Prosecutors

This week in discussing the arrest of American Airlines mechanic Abdul Alani at Miami Airport for tampering with a departing flight's navigation system, I pretty much laid it on the line-without claiming to have empirical evidence- that the motivation was likely jihad. Alani has reportedly confessed to the act claiming that he wanted to earn more overtime to fix the problem and was upset about union contract negotiatons.

Well, instead of looking for the union label, investigators are finding evidence of Islamic terrorism. At a bail hearing today, prosecutors are alleging that Alani had an ISIS video on his cell phone, which he had forwarded to others.

Is this fact by itself enough to bring a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt of a terror offense? I would suggest that the prosecution needs to find a little bit more to ensure a conviction, not on the tampering since he has reportedly confessed, but on the enhancement of a terroristic motive. As for me, I am hardly surprised at this latest revelation, and no doubt the FBI is going full speed ahead to identifiy Alani's associates. He may be a lone wolf, but the alarms have sounded.

On CNN today, aviation expert, Mary Schiavo, who is former inspector general of the Dept. of Transportation, pointed out that this raises the issue that airline mechanics do not undergo the same background screening that pilots do. According to Schiavo, the airlines are resisting this requirement because it is costly.

Not as costly as it will be when some airplane mechanic/jihadist succeeds in bringing a passenger jet down.

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