Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Report: Nuke plant worker suspected of terror ties, declared non-Muslims to be "infidels" - on the job

Sharif Mobley, a 26-year-old American native of Somali heritage, was arrested in Yemen in March '10 in a roundup of suspected Al Qaeda members. NYD


Instead of going postal ~ this guy may have planned to go nuclear!

Recommended reforms included expanded NRC access to information on workers, better monitoring and reporting of suspicious employee behaviors and expanded power to verify employee identity and overseas travel.

Investigators noted that Mobley had been overheard saying that Islam is the only true faith and that non-Muslims are infidels. He also was heard saying, "We are brothers in the union but if a holy war comes, look out."

...had "suspicious" websites on his computer, including one with an image of a mushroom cloud, according to a new report.


A New Jersey nuclear plant worker and one-time Newark resident who was arrested as a terrorist in Yemen in March had "suspicious" websites on his computer, including one with an image of a mushroom cloud, according to a new report.



Al-Qaida suspect Sharif Mobley worked mainly at PSEG Nuclear's Salem/Hope Creek site, across the Delaware River from Augustine Beach, before his arrest, according to the heavily redacted Nuclear Regulatory Commission Inspector General's report, released on Monday.

After Mobley's capture, federal officials revealed that he had worked as a general contract laborer at six nuclear sites in all between 2002 and 2008. While on the job, the report indicated, he declared non-Muslims to be "infidels" and made other potentially troubling statements that never rose to management's attention.

The report called for expanded NRC authority to screen workers' identities, travel and behavior, along with other management reforms.

"That's something we've always been concerned about," said Norm Cohen, who directs the anti-nuclear group Unplug Salem. "We've talked for years about the need to tighten the way they vet the contract workers."

Mobley, who was raised near Vineland, N.J., and lived briefly in Newark in 2007, is currently awaiting trial on a murder charge. He could face the death penalty for killing a Yemeni guard and wounding another while attempting to escape from a hospital after his arrest earlier this year.

He had made a number of trips to the Middle East, reportedly for pilgrimages and language studies, between 2004 and 2009. [Yeah, the language of guns, missiles and home made explosives]

Sen. Charles Schumer and Rep. William Owens, both New York Democrats, called on the NRC to review requirements for workers with unescorted access at nuclear plants after the Mobley incident.

Most of Mobley's time at nuclear sites -- 76 weeks -- was logged at the Salem/Hope Creek complex. He also worked four weeks at both the Limerick and Peach Bottom plants in southeastern Pennsylvania and two weeks apiece at Three Mile Island near Harrisburg and at Calvert Cliffs on the Chesapeake Bay.

Delaware is within the emergency planning zone of five of the places where Mobley worked, and Delaware residents make up the vast majority of those inside the 10-mile evacuation zone of Salem/ Hope Creek. Only Three Mile Island is more than 50 miles from the state line.

Recommended reforms included expanded NRC access to information on workers, better monitoring and reporting of suspicious employee behaviors and expanded power to verify employee identity and overseas travel.

Investigators noted that Mobley had been overheard saying that Islam is the only true faith and that non-Muslims are infidels. He also was heard saying, "We are brothers in the union but if a holy war comes, look out."

A co-worker who had known Mobley since 2002 was aware of the behaviors, the report said, but those details came to the NRC's attention only during the investigation.

"The Mobley arrest showed that we had to devise and implement a much tougher security system to protect our nuclear plants from infiltration," Schumer said Monday.

The NRC's report, Schumer said, included "concrete, actionable recommendations that can be put in place immediately."

Mobley cleared a background check as recently as 2008, Schumer said, "despite becoming radicalized as early as 2006."

The report said that NRC inspectors sometimes have to "look over the shoulder" of plant employees when seeking access to computerized data on workers, instead of examining records directly.

Neil Sheehan of the NRC's regional office near Philadelphia said that plant access controls and restrictions already are "quite robust," but also are always under review.

"The NRC security staff had already begun work on issues we recognized needed enhancing even before the Office of Inspector General started its review," Sheehan said. "We expect other enhancements will be implemented in the future."

The News Journal

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