ISIS-Connected Plane Mechanic Pleads GUILTY To Sabotaging American Airlines Flight in Miami

Courtroom sketch of Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, by Daniel Pontet

Remember the American Airlines mechanic who sabotaged a flight out of Miami a few months ago? He had *ALLEGEDLY* disabled the navigation systems of a 737 with 150 people on board. He also had *POTENTIAL* ties to ISIS. Remember how he had also been fired from Alaska Airlines after making a series of other negligence blunders and then tried to sue them while crying racism?

Well, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani has now plead guilty to Attempted Destruction of an Aircraft

Per The Department Of Justice news release:

Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office announced that Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, 60, of Tracy, California pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke, to a single count indictment charging him with attempted destruction of an aircraft.

According to the court record, including the facts admitted at the change of plea hearing, on or about July 17, 2019, Alani, a mechanic then employed by American Airlines at Miami International Airport (MIA), tampered with the air data module (ADM) system of an aircraft that was scheduled to depart MIA for Nassau, Bahamas.

On or about July 17, 2019, approximately two hours after its arrival into MIA, the aircraft pulled out for its scheduled departure to the Bahamas.  Passengers and crew members were aboard the aircraft.  While number one for taking the departure runway, the flight crew increased power to the aircraft engines in preparation for take-off.  This resulted in an error reading by the aircraft’s computer related to the ADM system and the take-off was aborted.

Prior to the aircraft’s scheduled take-off from MIA, Alani had inserted a foam substance into the ADM system and used super glue to hold the substance in place.

Alani is currently detained and is scheduled to be sentenced in March of 2020, before Judge Cooke.  He faces a maximum statutory sentence of twenty years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI’s South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF).  She thanked the U.S. Federal Air Marshal Service, Miami-Dade Police Department’s Airport Division, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Transportation and Security Administration (TSA), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Miami-Dade County Aviation Authority and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for their invaluable assistance.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randy A. Hummel and Maria K. Medetis.

CBS Miami adds:

Alani entered the plea in Miami federal court. He previously admitted to investigators that he committed the sabotage, insisting it was an attempt to gain overtime to fix the American Airlines jet — which he did.

“I do admit the guilt,” Alani, shackled and wearing tan jail clothing, said through an Arabic interpreter.

Alani, 60, is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Iraq who had been an airline mechanic for 30 years. Prosecutors say he has a brother in Iraq who may be involved with the Islamic State extremist group and that he had made statements wishing Allah would use “divine powers” to harm non-Muslims.

Investigators said Alani also had Islamic State videos on his phone depicting mass murders and that he traveled to Iraq in March but did not disclose that to the FBI after his arrest.

Despite that evidence, Alani was never charged with any terrorism-related crime. He pleaded guilty to attempted destruction of an aircraft, which carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. Alani will likely get less prison time when he is sentenced March 4.

Court documents show the sabotage involved gluing Styrofoam inside the nose of the Boeing 737 so that it disabled a component pilots use to monitor things such as airspeed, altitude and the pitch of the plane.

Authorities say if the flight, which had 150 passengers, had taken off from Miami International Airport as planned July 17 for Nassau, Bahamas, the sabotage could have caused a crash.

Many of Alani’s actions that day were captured on surveillance video and he was identified by fellow workers.

What’s interesting is that no mugshot of him can be found. When you search him on the inmate locator, information comes up, but no picture. In fact, it appears that the only picture of him that exists is this fuzzy low resolution image.

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