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Terror Suspects Had Jobs at British Airways and … U.S. Nuclear Facilities

What did Sharif Mobley tell his terrorist handlers about our security protocols?

by
Annie Jacobsen

Bio

March 14, 2010 - 12:01 am
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The terrorism case of Rajib Karim, a 30-year-old British Airways call center employee, took a radical turn last week when a British court learned Karim volunteered to work as a member of a British Airways crew during an upcoming crew strike. Karim’s ultimate goal, the court learned, was to become a suicide bomber. He sought out a job with the airline so that he could gather information useful to his terrorist handlers in Yemen.

Prosecutor Colin Gibbs provided more details. While working at the call center designing software for British Airways, Rajib Karim had also been working with foreign jihadists in Yemen, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, giving and receiving support and “advice.” As a British Airways employee, he had learned otherwise inaccessible cabin crew protocols after the airline made this sensitive information available to employees who’d volunteered to pick up extra jobs during the strike. “There is no way this individual would have been considered for cabin crew work because he did not meet the criteria,” a British Airways spokesman told the Times of London in response to explosive details in the British press. But the fact that Karim had access to information he was able to relay to his overseas handlers could not be denied by British Airways. This included how to beat airport security, how baggage and body scanners worked, and how British Airways crew conducted certain tasks.

Across the pond, here in America, the news that yet another young radicalized American Muslim male joined the jihad and traveled to Yemen for terrorist training made headlines on Friday as well. The first reports of the arrest of terrorist suspect Sharif Mobley, a twenty-six-year-old man from New Jersey, focused on the fact that after he was arrested in Yemen, he killed a hospital guard in an attempted escape. Taking a page out of Aafia Siddiqui’s playbook, Mobley apparently grabbed a weapon from a security guard on post at the hospital where he was a patient and started a gunfight.

Shortly thereafter, it surfaced that Mobley worked at as many as five different nuclear facilities in America over a period of six years. These facilities are in New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Diane Screnci, issued a statement saying that the commission “is not aware of any security-related concerns or incidents related to Mr. Mobley’s prior employment.” This is the same commission that has repeatedly been accused of refusing to conduct risk assessments regarding potential terrorist attacks at nuclear facilities.

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