This exclusive last night from the local Fox affiliate in the Twin Cities certainly will shake up anyone who’s flown through our international airport, which includes my whole family and all of my friends out here. One of the two Americans confirmed to have been killed while fighting for ISIS turns out to have had a pretty good job here in the US that he left behind — cleaning commercial passenger jets at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. Not only does this raise questions about security at one of the nation’s major Midwestern hubs, it also raises questions about why Muhumed left at all:
He was the second known American killed while fighting for ISIS in Syria, and the second from Minnesota — and a Fox 9 exclusive uncovering his employment history is raising a few eyebrows.
An airport is probably the last place anyone would want a suspected terrorist to work, but before he died overseas, that’s exactly what Abdirahmaan Muhumed did in the Twin Cities. In fact, he may have cleaned your plane at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Before he died, Muhumed left behind a trail of selfies and questions. Who recruited him to join the terror group, and how did he support himself and 9 children? Multiple sources tell Fox 9 News that, for a time, he worked at a job that gave him security clearance at the airport, access to the tarmac and unfettered access to planes.
Two former employees confirmed working with Muhumed at Delta Global Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Airlines. Earlier this year, the cleaning contract was taken over by another company, Airserv. The Metropolitan Airports Commission is in charge of granting security clearances, but a MAC person told Fox 9 News they could not comment on what Muhumed’s were due to the ongoing FBI investigation. Instead, they offered to check with Homeland Security to see if they can release any information at all.
Perhaps his radicalization came after his employment at the airport. Fox’s sources seem pretty vague on the timing of Muhumed’s employment at MSP, and doesn’t include any indications that he conducted any untoward activity during his time there. His secret life may have nothing to do with the airport at all.
One reason to conclude that there was no overlap would be that ISIS would certainly have taken advantage of it, or perhaps that Muhumed would have done so on his own. Usually the recruitment of fighters abroad by ISIS involves communication with the recruits prior to their arrival, so that they don’t find themselves under arrest in the attempt. (That happened with Shannon Maureen Conley even with coaching.) Had Muhumed told his recruiter that he had clearance to work at a major American airport, would they have encouraged Muhumed to make the dangerous trip to Syria or Iraq, or rather stay in place and work with a cell for an attack on the US instead? Something tells me that this would have crossed their minds, to say the least.
Nevertheless, this revelation will have lots of people wondering just how tight airport security is in MSP and other airports in the US.
Update: Amy Alkon notes that “they’re groping Grandma at the airport while employing the guy who went on to die fighting for ISIS.” Yeah, maybe we need to pay a little more attention to ongoing security checks on personnel, huh?