BA worker jailed for 9/11-style bomb plot
Published 19/03/2011 | 05:00
A British Airways (BA) computer expert was jailed for 30 years yesterday for plotting to launch a 9/11-style terror attack from the UK.
Rajib Karim (31) wanted to use his position at the airline to plant a bomb on a plane as part of a "chilling" conspiracy with Anwar Al-Awlaki, a notorious radical preacher associated with al-Qa'ida.
Among numerous plots to bring the airline to its knees, Karim hoped he could exploit industrial action by staff to become a cabin crew member and cause an explosion on a US-bound flight.
He was found guilty last month of four counts of planning terrorism.
Sentencing him at Woolwich Crown Court,London, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith said they were offences "of the utmost gravity".
The judge said: "You are and were a committed jihadist who understood his duty to his religion involves fighting and, God-willing, dying and then being rewarded in the afterlife."
Defence counsel James Wood said Karim's actions were "wholly embryonic" and that there was little certainty about what would have transpired.
Scotland Yard described the case as the most sophisticated decryption task it had ever undertaken. Karim plotted to blow up an aircraft, shared information of use to al-Awlaki, offered to help financial or disruptive attacks on BA and gained a UK job to exploit terrorist purposes.
The Bangladeshi national, who moved with his wife and son to Newcastle in 2006, had previously admitted being involved in the production of a terrorist group's video, fundraising and volunteering for terror attacks abroad.
Karim, described as "mild-mannered, well-educated and respectful", hid his hatred for Western ways from colleagues by joining a gym, playing football and never airing extreme views.
But at the same time he was using his access to the airline's offices in Newcastle and at Heathrow to spread confidential information.
After gaining a post-graduate job at BA in 2007, Karim held "John le Carre-style" secret meetings with fellow Islamic extremists communicated with al-Awlaki from his home.
In one of his encrypted communications recovered by police, Karim said: "From the moment I entered this country, my niyah (purpose) was to do something for the deen (for the faith), it was not to make a living here and start enjoying life. I got the BA job against all odds and really felt it was help from Allah."