ISIS connection found in American Airlines mechanic sabotage


(CNN) — There are disturbing new allegations against an airline mechanic accused of sabotaging a passenger plane.

A judge denied the Iraqi-born man bond, saying he may be “very sympathetic to terrorists.”

Prosecutors told a Federal Judge that the 60-year-old airline mechanic had an ISIS video on his phone, and had forwarded it to someone else.

Prosecutors say Abdul Majid Marouf Ahmed Alani visited Iraq this year and sent $700 to someone living there.

Alani, a mechanic for American Airlines, was arrested earlier this summer accused of trying to sabotage a plane with 150 people on board.

Authorities say they used surveillance video to identify Alani.

The pilots were rolling down the runway in Miami when they suddenly aborted takeoff due to faulty readings.

Experts say if it hadn’t been caught it could have brought the plane down.

Today, prosecutors said they also found an article about the deadly Lion Air crash in Indonesia last year on Alani’s phone.

They say it references the same type of air data module system he is accused of sabotaging.

The Federal Government said today, that Alani had told co-workers his brother was a member of ISIS, and he want to Iraq to see his brother.

Alani’s roommate told them he went to Iraq because his brother had been kidnapped, prosecutors say.

No terror related charges have been filed.

In court documents, prosecutors initially said he confessed to sabotage due to a pay dispute, and wanted to get more overtime fixing the flaw he created.

Tonight, analysts say investigators may now be looking into whether he was somehow radicalized.

“We’ve also seen these organizations be very creative and innovative and we’ve seen more outsourcing as they themselves cannot mount a 9/11 type operation, They essentially reach out to other people that kind of do things for them,” Carafano said.

Terrorist groups from Al-Qaeda to ISIS are known to be fixated on trying to bring down American planes. The threat of a terrorist getting a job with an airline to pull off an inside job has always been a major security concern.

For example, the deadly Metro Jet crash in Egypt in 2015 claimed by ISIS might have been perpetrated by a mechanic, according to Reuters.

“They say airport insiders as potentially very helpful recruits in launching these kind of attacks. There’s some track record of this,” said Cruickshank.

Terrorism experts also say it’s possible that Alani’s interest in Iraq and ISIS could have no bearing on the alleged sabotage.

“Plenty of people download ISIS videos for all sorts of reasons. This man was from Iraq. Perhaps he was interested in what that group was doing to his country. The question of travel to Iraq, well plenty of Iraqis in the United States go back to their home country,” Cruickshank said.

American Airlines says the mechanic has been fired.

He is expected to enter a plea later this week in connection to the July incident.

Alani’s lawyer said in court he never meant to hurt anyone, that he only wanted overtime pay.

He also said Alani agreed to the search of his phone, where that ISIS video was found.

As of early Wednesday evening, the mechanic was not yet facing terrorism-related charges.


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