Skip to comments.'Scary' U of M student jailed, Possible terrorism ties under investigation
Posted on 09/16/2005 5:58:17 AM PDT by gg188
'Scary' U of M student jailed
Possible terrorism ties under investigation
By Chris Conley
September 16, 2005
When FBI agents walked into Mahmoud Maawad's spartan apartment at 3557 Mynders # 5 on Sept. 9, they found a desk, chair, computer and a Koran.
They also found an airline pilot's uniform, a chart of Memphis International Airport, and instructional DVDs, including one called "How an Airline Captain Should Look and Act."
A federal magistrate Thursday ordered Maawad, a 29-year-old University of Memphis student from Egypt, jailed until his trial on charges of wire fraud and fraudulent use of a Social Security number.
"The specific facts and circumstances are scary," Asst. U.S. Atty. Steve Parker said, arguing against Maawad's release.
Since Maawad can't get a Social Security number, "he can't get a pilot's license, and can't go to flight school," Parker said. "But he wants to get behind the wheel of an aircraft."
Parker said "we don't know either way" if Maawad is a terrorist or connected to any terror groups.
U.S. Magistrate Judge S. Thomas Anderson ruled that Maawad be held without bond.
Though it's not illegal to buy aviation material, Anderson noted, "it is hard for the court to understand why he has a large concentration of those items, and nothing else to indicate Mr. Maawad plans to stay in the community."
Maawad has been in the country illegally since 1999, and has used a false Social Security number to enroll in schools and open a bank account, Parker said.
He's been working off-the-books for cash at a North Memphis convenience store, and was arrested by Shelby County sheriff's deputies last spring for selling alcohol to a minor.
Agents are downloading information from Maawad's computer and analyzing materials from his apartment in search of a terrorism connection.
"My school is everything," said Maawad, a clean-shaven man built like a weightlifter. "I stay in this country for seven years; I stay for the school."
Maawad said he's studying science and economics at the U of M.
Since Maawad can't work legally, he told authorities a friend would support him.
When court employees tried to reach that friend, the telephone was disconnected.
Between April and August, the penniless student ordered $3,000 in aviation materials, DVDs titled "Ups and Downs of Takeoffs and Landings," "Airplane Talk," "Mental Math for Pilots" and "Mastering GPS Flying," FBI agent Thad Gulczynski testified.
He also ordered a pilot's coat and hat, and a chart of the Memphis airport terminal area from Spotty's USA in San Diego.
When the company didn't receive payment on $2,500 worth of merchandise it had delivered, officials called the FBI, which launched an investigation, Gulczynski said.
-- Chris Conley: 529-2595
Copyright 2005, commercialappeal.com - Memphis, TN. All Rights Reserved.
So does this mean that if his handlers had actually paid for the materials, the FBI wouldn't have been contacted and this loser could have gone on to blow up an aircraft or airport? Now the terrorists have learned a lesson: pay for your stuff and you won't get caught.
Shoot the bastard...NOW!
Now that passengers are willing to resist and even kill troublemakers in the cabin, and now that pilots are sealed into their cockpits and inaccessible from the cabin, Al-Qaeda has developed a new strategy - pilot impersonation.
Rather clever - I hope the authorities learn quickly from this new development and takes steps to neutralize this tactic.
Numerous times I have been on flights where the pilot and flight crew were running late, and when they arrived they just ran right onboard with minimal hassle.,p>Perhaps he was hoping on just that kind of lax scrutiny.
Are you nuts? Shoot him later - extract information from him now, by any means necessary.
The court...Naughty boy, turn in your uniform and be on your way.
Well at least he had an interest in learning how to land.
More to add to the Clinton legacy, I see.
All he would have to have done is pick up a copy of "Flying for Dummies" and he would have been good to go.
No, border security isn't a national security issue.
Thank God these people are generally idiots. I hasten to recall how Mohammad Atta, in his defining moment, came within minutes of missing his flight... And then there's Moussaoui attempt to learn how to fly planes but not land them...
Of course. I meant to say AFTER he's been drained of all information via Industrial Strength Cattle Prods to tender areas.
He needs a one-way ticket to Gitmo. STAT.
That can't be right. An illegal alien connected to what appears to be terrorist related activities? (sarc)
The Prudent elected officials would stop allowing students into the country that are between 18 and 40 and of middle eastern descent.
Foreign exchange students do not collect flight uniforms, and pose as pilots. Use stolen social security numbers and behave in this manner.
When we wake up, we might save this country. We used to be concerned about the majority of the population, now we are only concerned about not discriminating against middle eastern men who are between 18 to 40 and pose a threat against us. Those men are protected under our laws. No sense.
Extract information first, then....
this reminds me of what my father said if he was a judge and guys like the Shoe Bomber came into his court. After the testimony, my father would signal the court guard to come over, he would wisper in their ear "Give him the #1" and accused would be escorted from the courtroom never to be heard from or seen again.
This guy needs the #1 treatment.
Very few training manuals cover ONLY how to take off.
Now don't jump to conclusions. Just because Mahmoud had a pilot's uniform and instructional material on how to fly an airplane, does not mean he was up to something bad.
After all, he had a Koran in his room. He's probably quite a religious little fellow.
I don't think he was financed. I do think he was a nut. Good thing AQ did not find him first, IMHO.
If they're not too busy, perhaps the FBI can make a list of businesses that sell these uniforms and books.
I totally agree. Greed first, patriotism second. I'd like to know the name of the company so I can boycott its products (which I am sure I would never buy in the first place).
I always thought it was crazy to make the cockpits impregnable for the very reason you mention.
Also, a year or so before 9/11 there was an Egyptian passenger plane that did a nosedive into the ocean right off the coast of New York, with the pilot forcing the plane into the ocean. Some theorized that the pilot was supposed to crash into a NYC target, but instead, forced his plane into the ocean.
In our country, almost every airport calls itself an "International" Airport, accepting flights that originate from foreign countries. Some of these airports are pretty deep inside our borders and the direct flights from overseas to these airports pass over vast areas of our country.
These flights come in on airlines from Egypt and Pakistan, and it worries me that a fanatic pilot could kill his cockpit crew (and while safely behind his impregnable cockpit door) pilot his plane into a nuclear or chemical plant.
Extract the names of his supporters first.
Yeah, that's what it looks like. We wouldn't have heard of this SOB if he paid for his materials. Next time they will pay.
After all, he could just be a typical Microsoft Flight Simulator geek who likes to dress up in a captain's uniform while making the JFK-LAX run on his computer. ;)
Summary execution at half-time?
And one can assume the proprieter of this convenience store will be prosecuted for hiring illegal aliens, tax evasion and thwarting State employment laws, right?
I don't think humane rules should apply to people like him...I realize this is America and we don't operate like that...but anyone connected to terrorism should be destroyed publicly.
No, you're acting a little rash here.
First, you torture him to get every bit of info as possible...
...and then you shoot him.
The entire National Guard stationed along the Mexican border would not have discovered or stopped this guy. It is a lead pipe cinch he didn't come from that direction. Maybe the Northern border but most likely flew in to an Eastern airport.
Nah, shoot his toes off, one by one, and see how he sings. If that doesn't work, kneecap him.
If that fails, strap him to a dead pig...then kill him.
You're probably right. The more I think about it, he probably had an expired student visa. That seems to be the method of choice for the hadjis.
NYU and BU and a few other universities would go bankrupt.
There's a gas station/convenience store in North Memphis that I use because their gas prices are always lower than anyone in the city. The staff is about 8 ME guys, 20-40yo, and they have recently rotated in a number of new guys. Every time I'm in there, I can't help but wonder...
I have NEVER seen a woman of ME decent there with them.I keep telling myself that their culture requires them to work, with their women at home.
Sometimes I think I shouldnt buy from them, but then I think I'm just being racist.
What would you other Freepers do?
BTW, Memphis has been LOADED with stories of ME men being arrested for ID fraud, one of which ended with their black female coconspiritor with the licensing bureau dead in a one car accident. Another story is of a man caught in a bogus marriage scam for citizenship, and pics of him firing an RPG were found in his home.
Yeah, nothing going on here in Memphis!!
That is because they get an inflated amount of tuition for taking in these foreign students. These foreign students are taking spots away from American students who are actually turned away for an education because these guys pay more and take up space of just one student.
I would not define them as idiots. Atta murdered nearly 3,000 people and brought down the trade centers. He did not almost miss his flight. He had the timing down perfectly because he had lots of dry runs. He knew how much time he needed to get to his flights while spending as little time as possible in the airport. He also knew that the man in Maine withheld his boarding pass for his Boston connection, when it should have been given to him. They sent up lots of red flags, sure, but idiots, no. People who need to be wiped off the face of the planet? Yes.
Paging Jack Bauer? Sounds good to me!
It's not a matter of being Racist. When was the last time that a 19 year old Blonde Swedish bombshell blew herself up in a crowded market place?
You were right to wonder, but you should be more than that. Highly suspicious.
I find interesting that the Shelby County Sheriff cut him loose after arresting him on any charge.
Nothing has been learned since 9/11.
Are you going to boycott every company that sells Microsoft Flight Simulator? Including Microsoft itself?
Good luck with this. Let me know how it works out.