Oct 6 2010
A New Jersey MUSLIM accused of joining al-Qaeda in Yemen spoke openly of militant views while working at American nuclear plants, according to a report by the inspector general of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission that proposes tightening personnel security rules.
NY TIMES The man, Sharif Mobley, who is charged by Yemeni authorities with murdering a hospital guard during an escape attempt in March, said he told others in his labor union: “We are brothers in the union, but if a holy war comes, look out,” said the report from the inspector general.
Fellow nuclear plant workers said Mr. Mobley had referred to non-Muslims as “infidels” and had visited “unusual” Web sites on his personal computer, including one showing a mushroom cloud, the report said.
The report recommended improving plant employee training on how to detect and report “behaviors associated with (ISLAMIC) terrorist intent.” It proposed that regulatory commission officials should get direct access to a nuclear industry personnel database and suggested more frequent matching of employee names against terrorist watch lists.
The inspector general also suggested requiring disclosure of any foreign travel by nuclear plant employees so that they could be questioned about their destinations and activities abroad.
The American-born Mr. Mobley, 26, worked between 2002 and 2008 as a laborer at six nuclear plants in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The inspector general found that Mr. Mobley did have unescorted access to the interior of the plants but did not have access to computers or high-security information.
Mr. Mobley told friends in 2008 that he planned to move to Yemen to study Arabic and Islam. American and Yemeni officials said he connected there with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the branch of the terrorist network in Yemen.
Mr. Mobley was arrested by Yemeni security officers in January and was taken in March to a hospital in Sana, the capital, after complaining of illness. On March 7, according to Yemeni officials, he grabbed a security guard’s gun and tried to escape, fatally shooting one guard. He remains in Yemeni custody on capital murder charges.