The Jihadi "Insider" Threat

(Jerusalem Post) Ely Karmon - On Oct. 3, Mickael Harpon, 45, a French police employee, stabbed five colleagues at the Prefecture of Police in central Paris, killing four police officers and seriously injuring a woman. Harpon, who had worked at the station since 2003, held top-secret security clearance that gave him access to all computers in the police directorate of intelligence. He converted to Islam a decade ago, stopped wearing Western clothes and stopped talking to women. Colleagues had reported Harpon in 2015 for voicing support for the attack on the Charlie Hebdo journal offices, but nothing was done. This major terrorist incident raises the larger question of the insider threat in law enforcement, intelligence, military agencies and strategic infrastructure facilities (airports, petrochemical and power plants). On Sep. 5, Abdul Alani, an American Airlines mechanic born in Iraq and a U.S. citizen since 1992, was arrested in Miami. In July, he drove up to a Boeing 737 at Miami International Airport, opened a compartment below the cockpit, and glued a piece of foam inside navigation equipment so that pilots wouldn't be able to tell how fast or high they were flying. The blockage triggered an alert when pilots powered up the plane, and they canceled the takeoff. In 2013, a technician at the airport in Wichita, Kansas, was arrested as he tried to plant what he thought was a bomb. He had told an FBI undercover agent that he wanted to carry out jihad for al-Qaeda. In 2015, the Department of Homeland Security found that the Transportation Safety Authority had failed to identify 73 aviation workers with security badges who should have triggered terrorism-related red flags. The writer is senior research scholar at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism and the Institute for Policy and Strategy at The Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya.

2019-10-25 00:00:00

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