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American Airlines worker who sabotaged a flight may have terrorist connections, judge says

'That's very disconcerting'

Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A federal judge denied bail to the former American Airlines employee who allegedly attempted to sabotage a July flight from Miami to the Bahamas because the suspect may be "sympathetic to terrorists," according to the New York Times.

Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani was arrested and fired in early September after being caught on surveillance video gluing a piece of foam to an air data module, the system that tracks plane speed, nose direction, and other crucial flight information. Fortunately, pilots noticed the error before takeoff.

In addition to the foam in the air data module, inspectors found that the pitot tube of the plane was loose. In 2009, an Air France flight crashed when ice built up in the pitot tube.

He was charged with willfully damaging or disabling an aircraft, but no terrorism charges have been filed. Since then, however, some information has surfaced indicating potential terrorist connections and sympathies by Alani.

"You may be very sympathetic to terrorists," said U.S. Magistrate Judge Chris M. McAliley of the Southern District of Florida on Wednesday in Miami. "That's very disconcerting."

What do we know?

Alani, who was a longtime American Airlines mechanic who worked mostly on disabled planes, claimed after his arrest that he tampered with the plane hoping to earn some extra overtime by disrupting the flight. Union disputes, he claimed, have cut into his income.

Prosecutors revealed at the Wednesday bail hearing that Alani had videos on his phone depicting mass murders committed by ISIS, that Alani's brother lives in Iraq and may be involved with ISIS, and that Alani has, in the past, expressed a desire for Allah to harm non-Muslims.

Alani had worked for American Airlines for 30 years, he is an American citizen, and he has no prior criminal record. His attorney was seeking for Alani to be released on $200,000 bail, but he was ruled by the judge to be a potential flight risk and potential danger to the community.

Alani faces up to 20 years in prison if he is convicted.

One last thing…
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