Charge against airline mechanic highlights ‘insider threat’

The arrest of an airline mechanic suspected of being sympathetic with terrorists and charged with sabotaging a jetliner has renewed fear about the “insider threat” to aviation security.

Despite security upgrades since the hijacking terror attacks of 2001, breaches since then illustrate the possibility that a well-placed airline or airport employee could bring down a plane.

Nearly 1 million people work at the roughly 450 airports under federal control, and many of them avoid the kind of screening that passengers are subject to. Requiring them to go through security checkpoints would mean more spending on Transportation Security Administration and interfere with workers’ ability to go where they are needed.

On Sept. 5, Abdul Alani was arrested in Miami and charged with trying to disable or damage an aircraft.

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