This Shouldn’t Be A Surprise To Anyone

On September 6, I posted an article about Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, an airline mechanic in Florida who attempted to sabotage an airplane before it took off. Thank goodness his actions were discovered before the plane took off and the problem he created was corrected. He claimed that his actions were the result of a union wage dispute and that he was looking for overtime pay. The article I wrote states that I suspected there was probably more to the story. Well, there is.

The Tampa Bay Times posted an Associated Press story today that reported the following:

An American Airlines mechanic accused of sabotaging a navigation system on a flight with 150 people aboard at Miami International Airport was denied bond by a federal judge Wednesday after prosecutors suggested he may have links to a Middle East terrorist organization.

Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, a 60-year-old veteran employee, told investigators after his arrest earlier this month that he disabled the system because he was upset over stalled union contract negotiations with the airline and wanted to generate some overtime for maintenance on the plane. He said he meant no harm to anyone, and the July 17 flight was aborted before takeoff after an error alert appeared on the navigation system.

But federal prosecutors revealed new information about possible motives that prompted Magistrate Judge Chris McAliley to keep Alani behind bars, ruling that he posed a danger to the community and a flight risk.

“I have evidence before me that suggests you could be sympathetic to terrorists,” McAliley said, calling his alleged tampering with the aircraft “highly reckless and unconscionable.”

His arraignment on a sabotage-related charge is scheduled for Friday; if convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

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 Islamic State extremist group.

I am grateful for the federal investigators that uncovered the truth. I also wonder how Mr. Alani didn’t think that an error message would show up before takeoff. Possibly he thought the error message would not be noticed or would be ignored. Either way, I don’t have a lot of confidence in Mr. Alani as a mechanic.

Following The Money In San Bernardino

Fox News is reporting today that two weeks before he killed his co-workers, a $28,500 deposit was made into the bank account of the San Bernardino shooter. In the days before the shooting, $10,000 of that money was withdrawn as cash and there were three transfers of $5,000 that appear to be to his mother.

The article reports:

The loan and large cash withdrawal were described to Fox News by the source as “significant evidence of pre-meditation,” and further undercut the premise that an argument at the Christmas party on Dec. 2 led to the shooting. 

Fox News is also told that investigators are exploring whether the $10,000 cash withdrawal was used to reimburse Enrique Marquez, the man who bought the two semiautomatic rifles used in the San Bernardino shootings. Marquez is now reportedly answering investigators’ questions.

“Right now our major concern at the FBI, the ATF, and the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) is determining how those firearms, the rifles in particular, got from Marquez to Farook and to Malik,”  assistant special agent in charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, John D’Angelo, told reporters in California Monday.

At the same news conference,  authorities said the weapons were all legally purchased in California between 2007 and 2012.

The article brings up the issue of whether or not the $10,000 cash withdrawal should have triggered reporting requirements. Deposits over $10,000 need to be reported, but I am not sure about withdrawals.

It is interesting to me that the weapons were said to have been legally purchased before California passed stricter gun control laws. If they were purchased legally before the law was passed, how was the sale of those weapons legal? Who brought the shooter and the person with the guns together?

The fact that the shooter rented the SUV two days before the attack is also an indication that this was a premeditated attack.

The thing we need to remember when dealing with terrorists is that they are not stupid. The people recruiting (not the people who are planning to be killed) understand our laws and know how to get around them. They are also very patient. They are willing to take a year or two to plan an operation before carrying it out. As Americans, we live in a society where the microwave takes too long. We need to understand that protecting our people and preserving our country is going to be a long-term struggle and we need to be prepared for it.